WA pl. bales
‘destruction, death; misery; torment; sorrow' (Modern English bale)
Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)
bǫl ‘misfortune, woe, malice’
(ONP bǫl (sb.))
Other Scandinavian Reflexes
Far bøl, Icel böl
bealu, balu ‘woe, harm, destruction; malice; pain, suffering, torment’
Phonological and morphological markers
The majority of MED’s citations are in alliterative phrases (often in alliterative verse), but the word is nonetheless relatively widespread dialectally, inc. various early 13c. SWM texts and examples from Gower and Chaucer.
Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus
Gaw 2041, 2419; Pe 18, 123, 373 etc.; Cl 276, 980, 1256; Pat 276, 426, 510; WA 396, 1146, 1974, etc.
The instances at Cl 980 and WA 4160 are contested, see bale (2)(n.).