adj., v.

?'clogged, crammed' (Modern English )


This ptcp. adj. is attested uniquely from WA. The context (5429-31) is the description of a 'coue' which is 'ouirecouerd', 'claggid with spices/ þat makis þire wormes so wele & woud in þaire kyndis/ þat ilka twelmonth a turne þai tournay togedire'. Glosses, e.g. 'crammed' (TPD), 'clogged, sticky' (Skeat WA) and '?Besmeared, bedaubed, covered' (MED) reflect an effort to make sense from the context, assuming an etymology connecting the word with MnE dial clagg (v.) 'to stick, adhere to' (cp. also the adj. claggy 'sticky, adhesive, glutinous; (of soil) muddy, miry, clogged with moisture' (EDD s.v.)). The best comparandum put forward for the MnE dial words is Dan klæg 'mud' < PGmc *klaij- (cp. OE clǣg, MLG klei, OFris klāy; cp. OIcel kleggi 'horsefly' (as Bj. 215 notes)). This would explain the form of the ME and, although some sense extension is required for the instance in WA, it is plausible. In this case, the absence of palatalization of /g/ is a possible, but not certain, indication of loan.
The connection is supported by a further instance of a pp. with prefix bi- in a sense more obviously relating to the Dan by MED from c1440(a1400) Awntyrs Arth. (Thrn) ('alle by-claggede in claye'), and OED's beclog (v.) is probably better identified with this v. than clog (v.), although in practice differentiating the two is often impossible and some conflation of them is evident in MnE. 

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

cp. kleggi 'horsefly' 
(ONP kleggi (sb.)(2))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

ODan klæg, Dan klæg 

OE Cognate

clǣg 'clay'

Phonological and morphological markers

[absence of palatalization of */ɡ/] (possibly diagnostic)

Summary category



hapax legomenon, but note by-claggede in c1440(a1400) Awntyrs Arth.(Thrn) (as well as possible additional instances in late ME cited by OED s.v. beclog (v.)). Clag(g) (v.) 'to stick, cause to adhere; put close together' is attested in MnE dial primarily from the N and E, but as far afield as War. and Nhp. (see EDD).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

WA 5429


MED clagged (adj.) , OED clag (v.) , EDD clag(g) (v.), de Vries kleggi, Orel *klajjaz, Kroonen *klajja, Nielsen klæg, Torp-Falk klæg (II), AEW clǣg