'choice, range to choose from, abundance' (Modern English wale)


Always derived from ON, cp. OIcel val (neut.) and vǫl (fem.), and in WGmc only OHG wala. There is no clear evidence for *wal- ‘choice’ in OE, unless the name Wæls (Wælsing) is formed on this root (see e.g de Vries s.v. Vǫlsung, AEW s.v. Wæls). See also wale (v.) and wale (adj.).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

val 'choice', vǫl  'choice'
(ONP val (2)(sb.)(n.), vǫl (sb.); cp. velja (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far val, Icel val, Norw val, ODan val, Dan valg, Sw val; Far velja, Icel velja, Norw velja, Dan vælge, Sw välja

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Only otherwise cited by MED and OED from a handful of mostly N and Sc texts.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Erk 73

MED cites the instance at Erk 73 in its entry for wālen (v.1), but notes that to wale could be construed as a prep. phrase. and thus identified with its n.1.


MED wāle (n.1) , OED wale (n.2) , HTOED , EDD wale (v.2, sb.2 and adj.), Bj. 256-7, de Vries val (1); vǫl, Mag. val (1); völ, Bj-L velge, Orel *walan ~ *walō