Cl pl. draʒtes

'drawbridge; character (in writing)'

(Modern English draught)


A nominal derivation using the *-t suffix on the commonplace Gmc v. *dragan- (OE dragan ‘to drag, pull (etc.)’); cp. OIcel dráttr ‘pulling, hauling, driving force; catching (fish) (etc.)’, and the cognates OHG traht, MDu dracht. For the sense development to ‘drawbridge’ in ME see Simpson 1981: 302. Earlier authorities often list ME draʒt as a loan from ON (e.g. Kluge 1901: 936 and Kullnick 14), but it is now usual to place less weight on the absence of an OE *dreaht in the textual record, and to regard this word as likely to have existed (as a common derivational type formed on a very common v.).  

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

dráttr ‘pulling, hauling, driving force; catching (fish) (etc.)’
(ONP dráttr (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far dráttur, Icel dráttur, Norw drått, Dan dræt, Sw dial drätt

OE Cognate

dragan v. ‘to drag, pull (etc.)’

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



The n. in its various senses is common and widespread in ME; MED has two other citations in the ‘drawbridge’ sense (5a) and four in the sense 'that which is drawn or written' (9a), incl. WA 280.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 817; Cl 1557


MED draught (n.) , OED draught (n.) , HTOED , ODEE draught, Dance, Bj. 234, de Vries dráttr, drǫ́ttr, Mag. dráttur, Bj-L drått, Seebold drag-a-, Orel *ðraxtuz ~ *ðraxtō, Kroonen *drahtu-