v. (past sg.)

'gouged (out)'

(Modern English holk, hawk)


This is the first occurrence of this v. in English, but verbs formed with suffix -k on the same ult. root *xul- (as in the PGmc adj. *xula- 'hollow', cp. OE, OFris, OS, OHG hol, ON holr) are attested elsewhere in Gmc, cp. MLG holken and Sw hålka. Most commentators compare one or both of these, but as McGee (398) notes, the only evidence for Scandinavian origin is the N distribution of the word in ME, which is circumstantial and inconclusive.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Sw hålka

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



This is the first of a handful of ME attestations in MED and OED, all of which are N or Sc; EDD's citations in this sense are all from the N/EM and Sc.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Cl 1222


MED holken (v.) , OED holk, howk (v.) , HTOED , EDD howk (v.1 and sb.), Kroonen *hula-