n., v.


(1) 'seat, throne, place (at table)'; (2) 'to sit'; (3) 'to be seated' (Modern English (1) seat; (2) set, sit)


McGee (410) questions the identity of <sete> at Cl 1395, which can be taken as either a n. or a v. in context. (1) It is usually read as an instance of sete (n.) (thus GollCl, Menner and Anderson). (2) Alternatively, McGee notes that it could be interpreted as an instance of either the ME v. setten (thus also Vant) or a northern spelling of sittan. Both are native, cp. OE settan 'to set, make sit, put, place' (< PGmc *satjan-, cp. OIcel setja, Go satjan, OFris setta etc.) and sittan (< PGmc *setjan-, cp. OIcel sitja, Go sitan, OFris sitta etc.) (on the confusion and interchangability of these verbs in ME, see MED, OED). (3) McGee finds it 'most likely' to be a v. derived from sete (n.) in the context of this construction 'busked to sete' (though cp. WA 2675 'busked þare his sete'). As either (1) or (2) makes good sense of the context without appealing to otherwise unattested forms or senses, however, this explanation is perhaps unnecessary.

PGmc Ancestor

(1) *sētjan-; (2) *satjan- or *setjan-; (3) *sētjan-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(1) and (3) sæti (n.) ‘seat’
(ONP (1) and (3) sæti (2) (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

(1) and (3) Far sæti, Icel sæti, Norw sæte, ODan sæte, Dan sæde, OSw sǣte Sw säte

OE Cognate

(1) and (3) gesǣte (n.) ‘snare, ambush’

Phonological and morphological markers

[ON /ɑ:/ < PGmc */e:/ (1)] (may not be applicable)

Summary category



(1) see sete (n.); (2) common and widespread; (3) this would be the only instance of a v. derived from sete (n.).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Cl 1395

See sete (n.).


(1) see sete (n.); (2) MED setten (v.) , sitten (v.) , OED set (v.1) , HTOED , sit (v.) , HTOED , Orel *satjanan, *setjanan, Kroonen *satjan, *set(j)an, Seebold set-ja-, AEW settan, sittan; (3) see sete (n.).