v. (pp.)


(Modern English rathel)


The precise etymology of this word is unclear, but (1) most authorities (thus TGD, MED) relate it somehow to PDE raddle (OED v.1) 'to weave or twist (branches, sticks, laths, etc.) together, intertwine, or interlace' and raddle (OED n.3) 'a slender stick, wattle or lath'. The ulterior etymology of these words is uncertain, but they are perhaps to be connected to OED’s raddle n.2 ‘a side-rail of a cart’, and hence to AN ridele (ridel, redele, reidele etc.), MFr ridelle, of Gmc origin (cp. MHG reidel, reitel (Ger Reitel), MLG wre(i)del ‘lever for turning, cudgel, short thick pole’) (thus GDS, OED3). (2) Less plausibly, Emerson (1922: 406) attempted derivation (for this word and the superficially similar but likely unrelated roþeled at Cl 59, 890) from the ON v. represented by OIcel raða ‘to set in order’, formed on the n. as in OIcel rǫð ‘a row, series’ (or ‘a bank, ridge, edge’), MLG rat, with an obsure ulterior etymology. This is a good formal match for (the first syllable of) the word in Gaw, but semantically distant from what is required at Gaw 2294 (which refers to a tree stump ‘raþeled … in roché grounde’) and much of the rationale for connecting raþeled to ideas of grouping and gathering disappears when it is separated from roþeled.

PGmc Ancestor

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(2) raða ‘to set in order’
(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

(2) Far raða, Icel raða, Norw rada, Sw rada

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

[ON fricative /ð/ < PGmc */ð/] (may not be applicable)

Summary category



Hapax legomenon

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 2294

Most recent editors and commentators follow TGD in glossing the sense as ‘entwined’ (so OED3) or similar (e.g. AW ‘anchored, entwined’, PS ‘twined’); but GDS (following Madden and Morris’s ‘fixed, rooted’) understands the word as ‘rooted’, and is followed by MED (‘to root (a stump of a tree), implant’).


MED rathelen (v.) , OED3 rathel (v.) , Dance raþeled; (1) OED raddle (n.2) , Kluge-Seebold Reitel, AND ridele, FEW (Germanismes) reidel, DEAF ridele (f.);(2) CV raða, de Vries, Mag. raða