'company' (Modern English )


This unusual ME n. has been plausibly explained as a loan from ON with metaphorical sense extension, cp. OIcel soppr 'ball' < PGmc *swumpaz, cp. OHG sumpf, a parallel formation to PGmc root *swamp-, cp. Go swamms 'sponge', (u-stem) OIcel svöppr 'ball, sponge', OE swamm, MLG swam, swamp, 'sponge', OHG swam, swamb 'fungus, mushroom'. The loss of /w/ before /o/ and the pattern of consonant cluster assimilation /mp/ > /pp/ are both distinct phonological markers of Old Norse.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

soppr 'ball'
(ONP soppr (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far soppur, Icel soppur, Norw sopp, Sw dial sopp, supp

OE Cognate

cp. swamm 'fungus, mushroom, sponge'

Phonological and morphological markers

ON consonant cluster assimilation

ON loss of */w/ before rounded vowel

Summary category



Cited by MED from a scattered handful of 15c. texts, incl. WA, AMA and DT. In the modern period found in Scots and N dial (see DSL s.v. sopp (n.2)).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

WA 2351


MED sop(pe (n.2) , OED sop (n.2) , HTOED , de Vries soppr, Mag. soppa (2), Orel *swampaz, Kroonen *swamb/ppan-, AEW swamm