Gaw stryþe


(Modern English strithe)


Most likely a derivation on the root of the PGmc str. I v. *strīðan- (< earlier *streiðan-), which is well represented in WGmc in a variety of (literal and metaphorically extended) senses, viz. OE strīdan ‘to stride’ and ‘to get by force, to pillage, to rob’ (see B-T s.v.), OFris strīda ‘to quarrel’, MLG strīden ‘to set the legs wide apart’ and ‘to quarrel’, OHG strītan ‘to quarrel’, and less widely attested in the Scandinavian languages as a str. vb., but cp. OSw striða ‘to quarrel’ (and Sw strida, Dan stride). The native n. recorded in the nearest concrete sense is OE stride ‘stride, step’ (cp. MLG strede, MHG strit), but ME /ð/ is problematic as an OE development since a str. v. whose present stem ends in PGmc /ð/ must derive from a form in PIE /dh/ (rather than /t/ with Verner's Law, which might have allowed the prospect of a PGmc */θ/ variant).  ON input has been suggested, esp. with comparisons to OIcel adj. stríðr ‘strong (of a stream); hard, stubborn, severe, vexed’ (so Bj.) or the n. stríða (fem.) ‘adversity’ (so Knigge 81, Thomas 1913: 256). Neither is very close in meaning to ME stryþþe, but they could conceivably represent an ON n. in an unrecorded concrete sense nearer to that of the PGmc verbal root, or else a form of OE stride with sound substitution of ON /ð/ for OE /d/. There is also an attested OE strīð ‘strife, struggle, fight, contest, dispute, contention; opposition, antagonism’ (itself sometimes derived from ON (AEW followed by McGee 351), but more likely native or borrowed from OS: see further SPS 458 ), which could provide a potential (if still semantically problematic) OE source for the fricative in ME.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

 stríða (n.) ‘adversity’
(ONP stríð (sb.) (1) and (2), stríða (sb.) (1); and (vb.) (2))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far stríð, Icel stríð, Norw strid, Dan strid, Sw strid; Far stríða, Icel stríða, Norw strida, Dan stride, Sw strida

OE Cognate

?strīð (n.) ‘strife, struggle, fight, contest, dispute, contention; opposition, antagonism’; cp. strīdan (v.) ‘to stride; to get by force, to pillage, to rob’

Phonological and morphological markers

[ON fricative /ð/ < PGmc */ð/] (possibly diagnostic)

Summary category



Recorded only in Gaw and in a Sussex surname (<strith>) (see MED).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 846, 2305 

Most Gaw editors assume a sense like ‘stance’ (thus TGD, AW, PS, and cp. MED’s ‘a firm stance’), though GDS prefers ‘a striding position’ and Vant translates ‘stride’.


MED strīth(e (n.) , OED strithe , HTOED , Dance stryþþe, Bj. 166, de Vries stríð, Mag. stríð; stríða; stríður, Bj-L. stri/stride, Heid. (-)streida-, Seebold streid-a-, Orel *strīðan; *strīðanan; *strīðaz, Kroonen *strīdan-, AEW strīdan; stride; strīð