adj., n.

'peace, at peace' (Modern English saught)


There is a strong case to be made for Scandinavian input here, but its precise form depends on how the relationship between the OE and ON terms (all ultimately connected to PGmc *sakan-) is interpreted. Spellings of this n. in ME indicate a vocalism directly derived from ON, cp. OIcel sátt 'settlement, agreement, concord, peace' and sætt 'reconciliation, agreement' (and further sætta 'to reconcile' and sáttr 'reconciled, at peace') rather than late OE seht, seaht 'settlement, arrangement, agreement' (which has also been derived from ON, but on arguments for interpreting this vocalism as native, see SPS 42-3, with references). ON /a:/ (and i-mutated /æ:/) could be explained either as an instance of lengthening preceding the consonant cluster assimilation */xt/ > /tt/ (on the apparent absence of assimilation reflected by the English forms, see Dance 2003: 138-9, 153-4) or by postulating an original PGmc *sanxt-. The existence of the latter is potentially supported by a connection to Lat sancire 'to hallow, make binding' etc. (though Bj. also notes the lack of evidence for such a root in Gmc). Though the phoentic evidence is inconclusive, the concentration of OE forms in <a>/<æ> in ?a1160 Peterb.Chron. (LdMisc 636) is also suggestive.
It has further been argued that the phrase 'sete saʒte' is borrowed directly from a common ON formulation, cp. 'setja sátt (frið, grið etc.)' (Goll 1201n, McGee 375; EVG also compares 'setja sátta').

PGmc Ancestor

*saxtiz or *sanxtiz

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

sátt 'settlement, agreement, concord, peace', sætt 'reconciliation, agreement'
(ONP sátt (sb.), sætt (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far sætt, Icel sætt, Norw sætt

OE Cognate

seht, seaht 'settlement, agreement'

Phonological and morphological markers

[ON / ɑ:/ < PGmc */anx/] (possibly diagnostic)

Summary category



On late OE spellings in <a>/<æ>, see further SPS 44. The word is more widespread in ME, but a high proportion of MED's citations come from the N and Midlands. Mostly N and Sc in MnE, but now obscure (EDD, OED).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 52, 1201

Most editors interpret saʒte in the phrase 'sete saʒte' as a n., but EVG takes it as an adj. and glosses 'at peace'.


MED saught(e (n.) , OED saught (n.) , HTOED , EDD saught (sb.), SPS 42-5, Bj. 100, 173, de Vries sáttr, sætt, Mag. sætt (1), Seebold sak-a-