v. (past 3 sg.)

(1) 'started, moved with a quick, jerky motion'; (2) 'moved' (Modern English )


(1) Most editors maintain the MS reading <brayed>, continuing OE bregdan 'to move, make a sudden movement, drag, pull, weave, bind, vary etc.'  (< PGmc *ƀregðan-, cp. OFris breida, OHG brettan 'to pull, tug', OS pret. brugdun 'knitted, tied') in Erk 190 ('Þe bryʒt body in þe burynes brayed a litelle'). (2) Only Gollancz (GollErk) emends to *brayþed, which he derives from ON, cp. bragða 'flare, sparkle, flicker; (impersonal) is seen to be in trembling motion, moves', comparing brayd (n.), which potentially shows some input from the ON n. represented by OIcel bragð 'sudden motion, etc.', and breyþed (v.), possibly to be derived from the ON cognate of OE bregdan, represented by OIcel bregða 'to move swiftly'. Such a form is, as McGee (445) notes, conceivable, but 'doubtful' in this context. The unemended form makes good sense in context and so 'both derivation and emendation are unnecessary' (Savage 190n).

PGmc Ancestor

(1) *bregðan-; (2) *bregðan- or *bragðan-

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(2) bragða 'flare, sparkle, flicker; (impersonal) is seen to be in trembling motion, moves'
(ONP (2) bragða (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Icel bragða

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

[ON fricative /ð/ < PGmc */ð/] (possibly diagnostic) (may not be applicable)

Summary category



(1) Common and widespread in ME, and particularly frequent in alliterative texts; (2) this would be a hapax legomenon.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Erk 190

All editors but Gollancz print MS <brayed>; see etymological discussion.


(1) MED breiden (v.1) , OED braid (v.1) , HTOED , Orel *ƀreʒđanan, Seebold Bregd-a-, DOE bregdan, AEW bregdan; (2) de Vries bragða, Mag. bragð, Orel * ƀraʒđan ~ ƀraʒđaz