clyff

n.

Gaw clyffe, klyf, pl. klyffes; Cl clyffe, pl. clyffeʒ

‘cliff, (high) rock’  (Modern English cliff)

Etymology

Usually derived straightforwardly from the well attested OE clif ‘cliff, mountain, crag; steep bank or slope; bluff, headland; land by a body of water, bank, shore’(so OED, TGD, GDS); cp. OIcel klif, MLG klif, klef, OHG kleb, chlep, a formation on the pp. stem of PGmc *klīban-. MED also compares the (formally indistinquishable) ON cognate, which may occur in place-names (VEPN following EPNE); some influence from ON is thus possible but not demonstrable.

PGmc Ancestor

*klib-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

klif 'cliff'
(ONP klif (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far kliv, Icel klif, Sw dial kliv

OE Cognate

clif ‘cliff, mountain, crag; steep bank or slope; bluff, headland; land by a body of water, bank, shore’

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category

CCC5a

Attestation

Widespread in ME texts, and in place-names.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 713, 1166, 1431, etc.; Cl 405, 460, 965

Bibliography

MED clif (n.1) , OED cliff , HTOED , Dance clyff, de Vries klif, Mag. klif, Orel *klifan, Kroonen *kliba-, AEW clif, DOE clif, EPNE clif, VEPN clif