n. (pl.)

Cl, Pat askes; WA askis


(Modern English ash)


Some ON input is often adduced to help account for forms of the word 'ash' whose spellings indicate /sk/, cp. OIcel aska ‘ashes’, alongside OE asce, axe, æxe, æsce etc.; these probably represent a PGmc *askōn (cp. WFris ask(e), OHG aska, though notice also the slightly problematic Go azgō; see GED and the discussion in Kroonen).  But /sk/ is the expected native outcome in the OE variant asce  (as noted by Kluge 1901: 940, etc.) and so influence from the ON cognate is not necessary to explain ME /sk/ here (thus McGee 322, and see also Dance 2003: 446).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

aska ‘ashes’
(ONP aska (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far øska, Icel aska, Norw oske, Dan aske, ask, Sw aska

OE Cognate

asce, axe, æxe, æsce etc. 'ash'

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Spellings in <sk> are widespread in ME.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 2; Cl 626, 736, 1010 etc.; Pat 380; WA 4180


MED asshe (n.2) , OED ash (n.2) , HTOED , Dance askez, Bj. 136, de Vries aska, Mag. aska, Bj-L. aske, Orel *askōn, Kroonen *askōn-, AEW æsce, asce, æxe, DOE axe