Gaw pp. festned; Cl imper. pl. festeneʒ, pp. festned; Pat pres. 3 sg. festnes

'make firm, bind'

(Modern English fasten)


ME festnen seems to represent OE fæstnian with the vowel of fest (v.).  Direct loan from ON is a more problematic possibility in this case (and only suggested by Oakden I.78, McGee 328–9 (who does not include the instance at Pat 273) and GDS (where it is cited alongside the OE etyma)), since no ON equivalent with i-mutation is known; cp. OIcel fastna ‘to pledge’ next to OS, OHG fast(i)nōn < PGmc *fastinō(j)an- (alongside OFris festnia, OHG festinōn). 

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

cp. fastna ‘to pledge’
(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

OE Cognate

fæstnian 'to fasten, fix, secure, bind'

Phonological and morphological markers

[i-mutation] (possibly diagnostic)

Summary category



Both -est- and -ast- variants are attested more frequently in ME than fest.  There are a number of early forms with <e> (inc. a1150(c1125) Vsp.D.Hom.Fest.Virg.(Vsp D.14) and Orrm); these recur throughout ME, in a range of dial, though they are perhaps most predictable in N and E texts.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 1783; Cl 156, 327, 1255; Pat 273

Some editors (inc. CA, AW, Vant, PS) read another instance of festned (pp.) at Gaw 2329, in place of what most editors have printed as fer(med) (thus TGD) or fet(led) (thus GDS).


MED fastnen (v.) , OED fasten (v.) , HTOED , Dance festned, Heid. fasta-, Orel *fastinōjanan, AEW fæstnian, DOE fæstnian