v. (past sg.)

WA pres. 3 sg. silis, pres. pl. silis, pres. ptcp. syland

'go, pass (on)'

(Modern English )


The etymology of this rare v. is obscure, but it is usually compared with Norw and Sw dial sila 'flow' and thus a Scandinavian origin is assumed to be most plausible, though it remains entirely speculative (so e.g. OED, MED). The pattern of attestation may be taken to support this possibility, but it is circumstantial. The v. may or may not be identical with ME sīlen 'strain', cp. Norw and Sw sila 'strain', derived from a n. (cp. Sw sīl 'strainer') formed on the PGmc v. *sīxwan- 'filter' (cp. OIcel sía, OFris sīa, OE sēon 'strain, filter', MDu sien 'drip', OHG sīhan 'strain').

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Norw dial sila, Sw dial sila

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



This is the first attestation of this relatively unusal word, which occurs mainly in N texts in ME and (in this sense) N dial of MnE (OED, EDD). MED's sīlen (v.2) is only attested from N texts.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Cl 131, WA 111, 161, 335 etc.

The A MS of WA has the variant reading felowis at 1555.


MED sīlen (v.3) , MED sī̆len (v.2) , OED sile (v.1) , OED sile (v.2) , HTOED , EDD sile (v.1 and sb.3), Bj. 253, Falk-Torp Sil (1), Hellquist sil (2)