n. (pl.)

Gaw arewez; WA sg. arawe, arow, pl. arows, arowis, arrowsarowesarowez

'arrows' (Modern English arrow)


Cp. OIcel ǫr (st. fem.; gen. ǫrvar) ‘arrow’, OE earh ‘arrow’, and late OE, ME arwe (PDE arrow). The root *arx- (usually held to be related to Lat arcus ‘bow’) is known only in Scandinavian languages, where it is restricted to Far. ørv and OSw arf alongside the Icel word, in English and, in an extended form, in Go arhvazna (derived from an earlier es-stem; see GED s.v.). The Norse words are wō-stems, but OE earh is neut. (and shows the expected development of *arxwa- in OE). OE arwe, however, could represent a wk. wōn-stem in which loss of /x/ and persistence of /w/ would regularly derive from *arxwōn. The expected OE *earwe is not attested, however a development > arwe can be explained by Hogg’s ‘combinative breaking’ (Hogg §5.29 n.4, Campbell §144 n.1, and see also SPS), whereby /æ/ retracts to /ɑ/ rather than breaking before /r/ + a labial. The formal evidence for loan from ON is therefore uncompelling and the case rests more tenuously on the late attestation of OE arwe (11c.).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

ǫr 'arrow'
(ONP ǫr (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far ørv, Icel ör, OSw arf

OE Cognate

 cp. earh ‘arrow’

Phonological and morphological markers

[lack of breaking of OE root vowel] (possibly diagnostic) (may not be applicable)

Summary category



For the late OE occurrences see DOE, Peters 102, SPS.  Common and widespread throughout ME.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 1160, 1455; WA 1066


MED arwe (n.) , OED arrow (n.) , HOTED , Dance arwes, Bj. 227-8, 309, SPS 400, de Vries ǫr, Mag. ör (1), Bammesberger 115, Orel *arxwō, Kroonen *arhwō-, AEW arwe, DOE arwe, arewe