(1) ‘desolating, dreary’; (2) (*deruely) sudden

(Modern English deavely)


Two ON sources for the adj. in Pe 51 (‘a deuely dele in my hert denned’) have been proposed. The first is more convincing, as it provides a better sense in context and does not require emendation of the MS reading: (1) EVG (see further McGee 363 and Gordon and Onions 1932: 127) reads deuely as a naturalised form (descended from late OE *dēaflic, cp. dēaf ‘deaf’) of an adj. derived from ON, cp. OIcel daufligr ‘boring, dreary, eerie, sad’ (formed on the adj. daufr < PGmc *dauƀ-, cp. Go daufs, OE dēaf, OFris dāf, MLF dōf, OHG toub), which he identifies with MnE N dial deavely, davely (the first citations in OED and EDD are from the 17c., but EDD cites OE *deaflic with a ‘cp. ON daufligr’). Cp. ME dauly. Goll apparently derives the ME directly from the OE, offering a ‘cp.’ to the ON word, but does not clarify the relationship between them. (2) Osgood emends to *de[r]uely, which he interprets as an adjectival use of an adv. derived from ON (see deruely (from derf)), cp. OIcel djarfliga (adv.) ‘bravely, boldy; rashly, precipitously’, glossing ‘sudden’. This explanation is rather forced and gives a less convincing reading than (1). 

PGmc Ancestor

(1) dauƀ-; (2) *derƀ-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(1) daufligr ‘boring, dreary, eerie, sad’; (2) djarfliga (adv.) ‘bravely, boldy; rashly, precipitously’
(ONP (1) daufligr (adj.); (2) djarfliga (adv.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

OE Cognate

(1) *dēaflic; (2) dearflic ‘bold, presumptuous’

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



(1) MED only cites one other instance in a1450 Yk.Pl. (Add 35290). (2) See deruely.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 51

On the sense in context, see Vant 51n, and further against Hillman’s translation ‘wicked’ Moorman 51n.


(1) MED dēflī (adj.) , OED deavely (adj.)[], EDD deavely (adj.), de Vries daufr, Mag. daufur, Orel *đauƀaz, Kroonen *dauba-; (2) Bj. 233, de Vries djarfr, Mag. djarfur, Orel *đerƀaz, Kroonen *derba-