Gaw grem

‘wrath, resentment; grief; mortification; hurt’

(Modern English greme)


Usually derived from ON, cp. OIcel gremi ‘wrath, anger’. The adj. on which ON gremi is based is nonetheless widely attested in Gmc and commonplace in OE, viz. OE gram ‘angry, wrathful; hostile, fierce; troublesome, distressing’ (cp. OS, OHG gram, OIcel gramr). An indigenous nominal derivation cognate with the ON n. and OS, OHG gremi, or indeed formed on the related v. OE gremman, gremian ‘to anger, enrage, infuriate’, ME grēmen (< PGmc *gramjan-; cp. OIcel gremja, OHG gremman, Go gramjan) is therefore also plausible. Its late occurrence and dial distribution are thus the main points in favour of treating ME greme as a loan.

PGmc Ancestor

*grama- or *gramjan-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

gremi ‘wrath, anger’
(ONP gremi (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far gremi, Icel gremi, Norw gremme

OE Cognate

cp. gram (adj.) ‘angry, wrathful; hostile, fierce; troublesome, distressing’ 

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



First recorded in ME a1325(c1250) Gen.& Ex.(Corp-C 444), and predominantly N and E, esp. in alliterative verse.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 312, 1507, 2251, etc.; Pe 465; Cl 16, 947; WA 4157


MED grēme (n.) , OED greme (n.) , HTOED , HTOED , HTOED , Dance greme, Bj. 242