v. (pres. 3 pl.)

Cl pp. cagged; WA pres. 3 sg. caggis

'tie up'

(Modern English (2) cadge)


The v. in Pe 512 (‘keruen and caggen and man hit clos’) and Cl 1254 ('Þay wer caged and kaʒt on capeles al bare') has baffled commentators, some of whom have simply labelled it ‘obscure’ or ‘uncertain’ (so EVG, Osgood, Anderson, Menner). Some tentative connections have been suggested, but no clear etymology: (1) Only MED has suggested an ON etymon for this obscure v. which it cites only from N alliterative poetry (see Attestation), cautiously comparing ‘?cp. kögurr quilt, kögur-barn swaddled child’ (cp. Norw koggebarn). The ulterior etymology of the ON n. represented by OIcel kǫgurr is uncertain, and similar forms occur only in Scandinavian languages. Mag. and de Vries both observe that the connection made by Falk (1919: 206) to kǫngur is unlikely. They cite instead Icel kagi ‘low shrub, small tree’ (attested from the 17c.) as a formally plausible comparison, but de Vries points out the difficulty in drawing a semantic connection between the two words. Another possible connection is with OIcel kaggi ‘keg, cask’ (cp. English cag, later keg, which may be an ON loan). (2) OED connects MED’s instances further with MnE cadge and considers its derivation and original meaning uncertain, but suggests a possible connection with catch (n. 1), from the Fr-derived ME cacchen (v.), and Goll also offers a sceptical ‘?cp. catch’.

PGmc Ancestor

(1) *kag-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(1) kǫgurr (n.) ‘quilt’
(ONP (1) kǫgurr (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

(1) Icel kögur, Sw dial kaghring, kafring

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



(1) Only otherwise cited by MED in SJ, DT and WA. (2) OED adds two MnE attestations and EDD associates cadge in this sense with Lan. dial.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 512; Cl 1254; WA 1521


MED caggen (v.) , OED cadge (v.)[],  HTOED ; (1) MED caggen (v.)[], de Vries kǫgurr, Mag. Kögur (2) OED cadge (v.)[], EDD cadge (v.3), OED catch (n.1)[], OED catch (v.)[]