adj., adv.

(1) 'courageously, manfully'; (2) 'lacking'

(Modern English )


Two different interpretations have been offered for the MS reading <autly> at Cl 795 ('watʒ non autly in ouþer, for aungels hit wern') by editors who maintain it: (1) Morris identifies it with OE āhtlīce (adv.) 'stoutly, manfully', formed on the contracted adj. ā-wiht- 'good, of value', a compound of ā 'ever' (< PGmc *aiwin, cp. ON æ, OS ēo, OHG io) + wiht 'creature, being, thing' (< PGmc *wextiz, cp. Goth waihts, ON vættr, OS wiht, OHG wiht). This is formally possible; however, as Vant (795n) observes, the reading makes poor sense in context. (2) He suggests instead that it represents a variant of ME authly 'deprived of life', formed on the rare adj. (see MED s.v. auth) < ON, cp. OIcel auðr 'empty, void, desolate' (< PGmc *auþa-, cp. Goth auþeis 'barren, desolate, deserted', OE īeðe 'barren, waste, desolate'). Bj. noted the lone apparent instance of ME authly from one MS of WA with some scepticism because the meaning in context 'is not quite clear (the Dubl. MS. has trewly) and therefore the connection with the Scand. word somewhat doubtful'. Though perhaps just possible, this identification is even more doubtful here: Vant's explanation requires both an extension of the attested sense of authly and special pleading to explain the form (in the parallel he cites, loot/loth, a fricative develops from an original stop).

PGmc Ancestor

(1) *aiwin + *wextiz; (2) *auþaz

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(2) auðr 'empty, void, desolate'
(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

(2) Far eyður, Icel auður, Norw aud

OE Cognate

(2) īeðe 'barren, waste, desolate'

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



(1) All other attestations of the adv. in MED are from c1275(?a1200) Lay.Brut (Clg A.9), though the n. and adj. are common. (2) the only other instance would be WA 3234; an adj. awth is cited by MED only from a1500(a1460) Towneley Pl. (Hnt HM 1).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Cl 795

Usually emended to *aucly (adj.).


(1) MED oughtlī (adv.) , OED aughtly (adv. and adj.) , HTOED , Orel *aiwaz ~ *aiwiz, *wextiz, Kroonen *aiwa/ō- 1, *wehti-, DOE ahtlīce, AEW āwiht; (2) MED authlī (adj.) , Bj. 75, de Vries auðr (3), Mag. auður (3), Orel *auþaz, Kroonen *auþja-