adj., n.

'amiss, blemish'

(Modern English )


This form of the ME adj. aukly is unique (only otherwise occurring in ME as an adv. in PParv.) before (possibly being recoined by) Parker in early MnE (OED). The more common adj. (see MED s.v. auk(e (adj.)) is always derived from ON, cp. OIcel ǫfugr 'backwards, turned the wrong way' < PGmc *aƀugaz (derived from the common prep. *aƀa- + suffix -ga-). A parallel formation with suffix -xa- *aƀuxaz is attested by WGmc forms, incl. OS abuh 'evil', OHG abuh 'bad, wrong' and late OE Nhb afuhlic (<afulic>), which occurs once in the Lindisfarne Gospels, glossing Lat perversus. Bj., noting the relatively late attestation of the ME adj. auk-, suggests it derives from the adv. Medial /k/ could then be explained if aukly < *aufukt-liʒ, where /g/ became /k/ before neut. -t (as in Dan avet) which was then dropped between /t/ and /l/. As a result of syncope in ME, vocalisation of /v/ to /u/ would occur in avk- (via bilabial /w/) between the back vowel and the velar plosive (Jordan-Crook §216).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

ǫfugr 'backwards, turned the wrong way'
(ONP ǫfugr (adj.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far øvugurøvigur, Icel öfugur, Norw ovug, avug, Dan avet, Sw avig, avog

OE Cognate

cp. Nhb afuhlic

Phonological and morphological markers

<p>ON adjectival (adverbial) <em>-t</em></p>

Summary category



Only otherwise occurs in ME as an adv., in PParv. (with variant spellings <awkely>, <avkly> and <awkly>) (MED); Matthew Parker's usage <awkly> in early MnE may be a recoinage, though the adv. has wider currency in early MnE (OED s.v. awkly (adv.)).


Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Cl 795

Although probably not the MS reading as GollCl argues, the emendation *aucly (MS <autly>) is widely accepted (Menner 795n notes other instances of <t> for <c>, see further Vant). Vant prefers to maintain the MS reading, not identifying it with OE āhtlīce (as Morris), but taking it as a variant of ME authlī 'deprived on life' (see further autly (adj.)).


MED auklī (adj. & adv.) , OED awkly (adj.) , HTOED , Bj. 20 n.1, de Vries ǫfugr, Mag. öfugur, Orel *aƀuʒaz ~ *aƀuxaz, Kroonen *abuha-, DOE afuhlic, Heid. abuga-, abuha-