v. (past 3 pl.)

(1) 'beat, rang'; (2) 'rang out' (Modern English )


All editors agree that beryd in Erk 352 has the sense 'rang', as is clear from the context ('and alle þe belles in þe burghe beryd at ones'), but identify it with one of two different verbs: (1) MED, followed by Burrow and Turville-Petre (1992) take it as an aphetic form of the v. continuing OE gebǣran (Angl. *gebēran) 'behave, act' (cp. OS gibārian, OHG gibāren, MHG gebāren; see further Kluge s.v. gebaren). MED attributes a number of very similar usages to this verb (bēren (v.2)), cited as sense (b) 'to sing loudly; of bells or trumpets: resound', presumably an extension of its sense (a) 'cry out, bellow, howl, roar' (cp. also OED s.v. bere). If this is correct, c1225(?c1200) St.Juliana (Bod 34) is the first attestation of the v. in ME without the prefix, already with this new sense. The OE n. gebǣre, gebǣru, most commonly meaning 'behaviour', but also 'cry, outcry' provides the best evidence for this sense extension. However DOE notes that both of its citations of the sense 'cry, outcry' could be taken more generally as sense (1) 'behaviour, demeanour, attitude' and cites MED s.v. ibēre (n.) in support of reading them with this more specific sense, and thus the earliest unambiguous evidence for this sense may actually be c1275(?a1200) Lay.Brut (Clg A.9). MED offers a further sense (c) for its bēren (v.2): 'to conduct oneself (in a certain manner), behave', which it cites only in the ptcp. berand(e) from 15c. N texts (contrast OED's berand (adj.), with a sense as in MED's (a)), which it theorises 'has been largely taken over by bēren (v. 1)' (< OE beran). It seems equally plausible that these instances should simply be identified with bēren. MED and OED both also cite c1225(?c1200) St.Juliana (Bod 34), as the first instance of the ME v. with prefix, i-beren, which otherwise occurs twice in LB. Here the form must continue the OE, and at least one instance obviously has the sense 'behave, act'. A native source of the v. with this form and sense is, therefore, a good possibility, even if the evidence is more complicated perhaps than MED indicates. (2) Alternatively OED, McGee (436) and most editors of the poem (Gollancz, Savage, Peterson) offer an ON etymon, comparing OIcel berja 'hammer, knock, strike etc.' (cp. ONP sense (3) 'strike (a musical instrument)') < PGmc *barjan-; cp. OE berian ''beat, strike' (someone); 'beat, knead, crush (something) etc.' (only occurs in pp., and mainly in glosses: see DOE), OHG berren 'hit, knock'. MED compares both OIcel berja and 'OE gebered crushed, vexed'. Therefore if beryd (and other instances of the v. with the same sense) is identified with ME berien, there is a case to be made for derivation (or perhaps influence) from the ON v., though it can hardly be conclusive.

PGmc Ancestor

(1) *bēr-; (2) *barjan-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(2) berja 'hammer, knock, strike etc.'
(ONP (2) berja (2) (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far berja, Icel berja, Norw berja, ODan bæriæ, Sw dial bärga

OE Cognate

berian ''beat, strike' (someone); 'beat, knead, crush (something) etc.'

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



(1) First cited by MED and OED from c1225(?c1200) St.Juliana (Bod 34); subsequent citations are more often, but not exclusively (e.g. PP), from N texts. On the identification of the various senses with this v., however, see further the etymological discussion. The prefixed form of the v. is only cited from c1225(?c1200) St.Juliana (Bod 34) and LB in ME. (2) First cited from a1250 Ancr. (Tit D.18:Morton) and thereafter mostly from N and Midlands texts in ME; survives in modern N and Sc dial.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Erk 352


(1) MED bēren (v.2) , MED ibēren (v.2) , OED bere (v.) , OED i-bere (v.2) , DOE ge-bǣran, AEW ge-bǣran, Seebold Ber-a-; (2) MED berian (v.) , OED 'berry (v.1) , EDD berry (v.2), de Vries berja, Mag. berja (1), Orel * ƀarjanan, Kroonen *barjan-, DOE berian (2), AEW berian (1)