Cl, Pat derfly


(Modern English )


Formed on derf; cp. also OIcel djarfliga.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

djarfr (adj.) ‘courageous, aggressive, dauntless; heedless, impudent', djarfliga (adv.) 'bravely, boldly, daringly, dauntlessly; rashly, precipitously, impudently; without reservation; roundly, immoderately' 
(ONP djarfr (adj.), djarfliga (adv.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far djarvur, Icel djarfur, Norw djerv, Dan djerv, Sw djärv

OE Cognate

cp. deorfan (pret. dearf) ‘to work, labour; be in danger or trouble’ 

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category




MED’s senses (1) and (2) (‘boldly (etc.)’, ‘fiercely (etc.)’) are predominantly N and E; (3) (‘cruelly, painfully, miserably, wretchedly’) is also found in the AB group (see further McGee 505–7).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 2334; Cl 632, 1641; Pat 110

Gaw 2334 was originally read as dernely by Madden, but altered in his ‘Corrections and Additions’; followed by Morris and all subsequent editors.  Morris (text and footnote) suggests that Gaw 1188 dernly should also be read deru-, but he has had no followers.


MED derflī (adv.) , OED derfly (adv.) , HTOED , Dance deruely