WA silkyn, silken


(Modern English silken)


OE had seolcen, siolcen and (late) silcen. ME /i/ can be explained as a native development, or as showing Norse influence on the vocalism (i.e. /i/ rather than ME /e/ from back-mutation of OE /i/), as with the n.  (see furter silk.)

PGmc Ancestor

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

cp. silki (n.) 'silk'
(ONP cp. silki (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far silki, Icel silki, Norw silke, Dan silke, Sw silke

OE Cognate

 seolcen, siolcen and (late) silcen 'silken, made of silk'

Phonological and morphological markers

[absence of back-mutation of */i/] (possibly diagnostic) (may not be applicable)

Summary category



The earliest citation of spellings with <i, y> is from Gaw, whereafter it becomes the regular variant (contrast the formerly dominant <e> spellings).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 610; WA 236, 1520, 5295


MED silken (adj.) , OED silken (adj.) , HTOED , Dance sylkyn