adv., prep.

Gaw aloft; Erk olofte, WA oloft

‘up, above, at the top, on; on horseback’

(Modern English aloft)


OE on + lofte, perhaps on the model of OE on lyfte, but cp. also OIcel á loft, á lofti.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

loft ‘air, atmosphere, sky, heaven; space; loft, upper room; balcony’
(ONP loft (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far loft, luft, Icel loft, lopt, Norw loft, luft, Dan loft, luft, Sw loft, luft

OE Cognate

cp. lyft ‘air, sky (etc.)'

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Widespread in ME (from Orrm), though its prepositional usage is recorded by MED only from Gaw and c1450(c1350) Alex.& D.(Bod 264).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 194, 435, 572 etc.; Cl 1183; Pat 447; Erk 49; WA 858

On the sense at Gaw 1125, see Magoun 1937: 131.  Gaw 569 <þer alofte> is sometimes printed as a compound (inc. by TGD). <on lofte> at Erk 81 has been intepreted as a a variant of alofte with native on- (thus Peterson, GollErk; see lofte (n.)); similarly the D MS of WA has a variant reading <on lofte> at 858.


MED aloft(e (adv.) ; alofte (prep.) , OED aloft (adv. and prep.) , HTOED , HTOED , Dance alofte, Bj. 249-50