adj., adv.

Cl aʒly

'terrible' (Modern English awly)


Formed on ME aue (PDE awe), perhaps on the model of OE egeslic (so Magoun 1937: 131).  Cp. OIcel agi ‘dread, awe; discipline; enmity’, a masc. n-stem formation on PGmc *ag-.  This stem-formative is only known in Scandinavia, in contrast with the declensional types attested in OE, viz. OE ege ‘fear, awe’ (a str. masc.n. apparently originating in an es-stem *agiz, cp. Go agis), and egesa (a wk. masc. representing an n-stem extension of the same, i.e. *agisan; cp. OS egiso, OHG agiso, egiso); there is therefore a strong case for derivation from ON. An OE n-stem on the same root is nonetheless conceivable, and would have given *aga without i-mutation or palatalization.  

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

agi ‘dread, awe; discipline; enmity’
(ONP agi (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far agi, Icel agi, Norw age, Dan ave, OSw aghi, Sw aga

OE Cognate

cp. ege (n.) ‘fear, awe’ 

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Known otherwise only in AW; the simplex ME n. aue is distinctively N and E in earlier ME (first recorded in Orrm), but shows signs of wider acceptance by the later period (incl. Chaucer, in rhyme): see further McGee 507. 

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 136; Cl 874, 937


MED auelī (adj. and adv.) , OED awly (adj.) , HTOED , Dance aghlich, Bj. 30n.1, 199, 305-6, de Vries agi, Mag. agi (1), Bj-L age, Orel *aʒez, AEW ege