adj., n.

Erk superl. mekest

‘gentle, submissive, merciful, humble’

(Modern English meek)


Always derived from ON, cp. OIcel mjúkr ‘soft, agile; meek, mild’. The PGmc root *meuk- is found in this form only in Scandinavia, but there are related forms elsewhere in Gmc on the Ablaut variant *mūk-, viz. Go mūka-mōdei ‘meekness’ and Du meuk, LG muck, Ger dial. (Swiss) mauch ‘soft’; these are usually further related to OIcel myki ‘dung’ (etc.), and hence to a PIE root *mVg- or *mVk-.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

mjúkr ‘soft, agile; meek, mild’
(ONP mjúkr (adj.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far mjúkr, Icel mjúkr, Norw mjuk, Dan myg, Sw mjuk

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Common and widespread from early ME.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 404, 815, 832, etc.; Cl 771, 776, 815; Erk 250; WA 1747


MED mẹ̄k (adj.)[], OED3 meek (adj. and n.)[], HTOED , HTOED , Dance mekely, Bj. 217, de Vries mjúkr, Mag. mjúkur (2), Heid. meuka-, Kroonen *meuka- ~ *mūka-