'coming, arrival'

(Modern English )


OE had cyme ‘coming, arrival, advent’, which fits well with the sense, but not the vocalism, of the ME n. which is usually spelt with <o> or <u> (with the exception of some early forms, e.g. c1275(?a1200) Lay.Brut (Clg A.9) <kime> compared to c1300 Lay.Brut (Otho C.13) <come>). This is explained either by deriving ME come directly from the v. comen (< OE cuman) (EVG) or more usually from OE cyme, but with the vowel adopted from the v. in early ME (so MED, OED, Goll, Osgood). Alternatively, ME come has been derived from an OEN n. kōma (< kvǫ́ma < kvám-) by labial mutation (see Bj. 11 n.2, 295).  However, the absence of secure instances of ON loans in ME showing ON labial mutation makes this possibility unlikely (Dance 2003: 152).

PGmc Ancestor

*kweman- or *kuman-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

kváma ‘coming, arrival, visit’
(ONP kváma (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Norw dial kome, kōma, OSw kōma

OE Cognate

cp. cyme ‘coming, arrival, advent’, cuman (v.) ‘to come’

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Spellings in <o> are widespread from Orrm onwards.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 1117; Cl 467, 1706

Against the unlikely reading of the instance at Cl 467 as the infinitive v., see McGee 401.