noun, f., i-decl., 82 occ.

Type: plant

Last Update: 14.12.2011 20:30

Old-English: bisceopvyrt, bisceopwirt, biscepwyrt, biscopuuyrt, biscopwvrt, biscopwyrt, biscopwyrtel, biscupwyrt, bispeswurt, bissopwurt, byscopwyrt, bisceopwyrt, biscopwvrt, biscopuuyrt, biscepwyrt, byscupwyrt, bisceopwyrte, biscopwyrte,


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References Last Update: 16.06.2022 05:21

Meanings Last Update: 14.12.2011 20:30

  • A: plant: native
    Althaea officinalis L., marsh mallow, Echter Eibisch
  • B: plant: native
    Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis., betony, Echter Ziest
  • C: plant: foreign
    ?? Ammi maius L., bullwort, Bischofskraut
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Comments Last Update: 16.11.2011 10:49

  • Comment on (A): Althaea officinalis L., marsh mallow, Echter Eibisch

    LB: Cf. Förster (1917,130): "Ae. bisceop-wyrt bezeichnet, wo es eindeutig glossiert ist (Corp. H101, WW 27033, 41713, 4243 mit lat. HIBISCUM [...]), eine wilde malvenart, 'Eibisch' (Althaea officinalis L.). Andererseits übersetzt bisceopwyrt [...] das lat. BETONICA, d.i. 'zehrkraut' (Betonica officinalis L.), welches auch im deutschen volksmunde als pfaffenblümchen erscheint." In LB bisceopwyrt and BETONICA[1] (betonice) occur together several times (e.g. 32/11, 37/11), therefore the meaning Stachys officinalis Trevis. must be excluded here. The meaning Verbena officinalis L. suggested by the gloss AntFö 138,228 (WW 134/40[2]) (æsc-þrote) does not apply in LB either, since bisceopwyrt and æsc-þrote occur together three times (37/11, 82/26, 108/17).

    LA: Similarly the meanings Stachys officinalis Trevis. and Verbena officinalis L. do not apply in LA, since biscopwyrt also occurs together with →betonice 102/3, 118/23 etc., with →berbēne 122/8, and with →æsc-þrote 148/4.

    Not clear are the lemmata GERSUSA, GERSUSSA[3] and ANDRE, which also appear in the Sinonoma Bartholomei: ANDRA bishopeswort.[4] GERABOTANE (= HIEROBOTANE), VERBENA and SAGMEN denote Verbena officinalis L.; these lemmata go back to Is. 17,9,55;[5] the - wrong - gloss bisceopwyrt was probably chosen because of the religious context.

    ASTRICIUM denotes Peucedanum ostruthium Koch, ne. masterwort, dt. Meisterwurz. We cannot see why it was added in Laud.

    The literal meaning is 'bishop's-plant' (also see etymology). There is no evident connection to Althea officinalis L. (although the shape of the leaves is similar to the shape of the mitre); maybe the original name applies to Verbena officinalis L. (Gk ίεροβότανον, L HIEROBOTANUM) or any other plant used in religious acts ["zu sakralen zwecken verwandte pflanzen." (Förster, 1917,139)]. It may relate to L HIBISCUM; cf. Pogatscher (1888,§381): "vielleicht hat auch biscop-wyrt für eine Umdeutung aus HIBISCUM zu gelten, wie auch Palmer (1882,29) vermutet." Pheifer (1974, note 496) also supports this theory.

  • Comment on (B): Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis., betony, Echter Ziest

    HA: BETONICA ƀ is biscopwyrt cf. →betonice. BETONICA denotes Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis. [cf. discussion above; Deegan (1988,229); D'Aronco (1998,49); Van Arsdall (2002,138)]; Pollington (2000,101) suggests that several plants were known by the name bisceopwyrt, some of them modified. For HA I this would suggest biscopwyrt being short for bisceop-wyrt, læsse, an OE name for S. officinalis. This applies also to Br, WW 298,9: BETONICA byscopwyrt.

  • Comment on (C): ?? Ammi maius L., bullwort, Bischofskraut

    Suggested by Cockayne (1061,II,372) as most likely identification, although it seems a highly unlikely meaning. But it is an appropriate identification for →bisceop-wyrt, sūþerne.

    For his identification he seems to use the ModE name as basis. The OED (s.v. ammi) records the first occurrence for the genus Ammi in 1551 (Turner's Herbal) and gives no suitable citation s.v. bishop, 10b. Marzell (2000,1,247) documents the use of Amey as plant name starting with Fuchs, 1543; he does not link the plant to the G name Bischofskraut.

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Occurrences Last Update: 04.06.2009 06:47

  • AntFö, 130,196 GERSUSSA biscopwyrt
  • AntFö, 138,228 GEROBOTANA ł‚ UERBENA ł‚ SAGMEN biscopwyrtel [6]
  • Br,WW, 298,9 BETONICA byscopwyrt
  • C 71.2, Meritt 73a, 7 ANDRE bisceopwirt
  • ClQu, 40,5 IBISCUM biscepwyrt
  • ClSt, G 161 GERABOTANE[7] biscopwyrt
  • ClSt, H 26 HIBISCUM biscopwyrt, merscmealwe
  • ClSt, I 215 IBISCUM biscopwyrt
  • Cp, 1043 (H 101) HIBISCUM biscopwyrt
  • D 11, F.10r, Rosier HIBISCUM biscopwyrt, merscmealwe
  • D 11, f.9v, col.3 GERABOTANE biscopwyrt
  • D 25, F.145r, col.2/4 IBISCUS bispeswurt
  • Ep, 496 HIBISCUM biscopwyrt
  • Erf, 496 HIBISCUM biscopwyrt
  • HA, I, 2/3 nsg BETONICA ƀ is biscopwyrt
  • LA, 118/23 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 122/8 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 146/24 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 148/4 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 178/18 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 180/10 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 102/3 nasg biscupwyrt
  • LA, 118/18f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LA, 166/20 asg þa bradan biscopwyrt
  • LA, 168/18 nasg biscopwyrt
  • LA, 194/12 gsg biscopwyrte
  • Laud, 724 GEREBOTANA biscopwvrt UEL ASTRICIUM
  • Laud, 727 GERSUSA .I. WIT[8] UEL bissopwurt
  • LB, 41/3 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 102/12f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 102/8 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 104/24 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 105/12 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 105/21 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 106/4 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 107/34 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 108/17 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 108/28f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 11/28 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 12/37 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 18/22f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 18/6f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 20/41f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 20/8 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 21/6 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 23/ 17[9] nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 23/39 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 30/38 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 32/11 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 32/28 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 32/3 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 32/39f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 34/12 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 37/11 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 37/6 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 39/20 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 41/14 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 41/36 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 42/15 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 42/30 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 42/33 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 43/13 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 43/15 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 43/25 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 46/9 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 80/36 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 80/8 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 82/24 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 82/26 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 82/29 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 82/36 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 83/13 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 90/12 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 94/25 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 95/15 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 97/3f nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 10/41 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 108/22 asg bisceopwyrte
  • LB, 17/28 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • LB, 32/7 asg bisceopwirt
  • LB, 41,3 nasg bisceopwyrt
  • Med 5.2 (Nap), 1.1 nasg genim brade bisceopwyrt
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Etymology Last Update: 14.12.2011 20:30

  • Etymology: L loan-word Etymology-Comment:

    Latin loan-word into OE (or WGmc?); probably an obscured form of L HIBISCUM (a celtic loan word?), then remotivated by popular etymology; OHG ībisca, īwisca, MHG ībesch(e), ybesch, G Eibisch

  • Word-Formation: noun/noun
  • Word-Formation-Comment: bisceopwyrtel is an extension of bisceopwyrt with the suffix -el, but probably with the same meaning
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External Reference Last Update: 12.12.2011 20:21

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Images Last Update: 14.12.2011 20:30

Althaea officinalis L., marsh mallow, Echter Eibisch


Botanical-Information: stylised plate

Source: Thomé, Otto Wilhelm: Flora ...

Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis., betony, Echter Ziest


Botanical-Information: stylised plate

Fitch, Walter Hood. Illustrations of the British Flora: London: Reeve, 1924.

?? Ammi maius L., bullwort, Bischofskraut


Botanical-Information: stylised plate

Kops, Jan, and F. W. van Eeden. Flora Batava of Afbeelding en Beschrijving van Nederlandsche Gevassen. XVI. Deel. Leiden: De Breuk en Smits, 1881.

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Research Literature

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BW II: Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 2. Bern, Frankfurt am Main, München: Lang, 1976.
BW III: Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 3. Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Las Vegas: Lang, 1979.
ClQu: Quinn, John Joseph. The Minor Latin-Old English Glossaries in MS Cotton Cleopatra A III. Diss Stanford U. 1956.
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Cp: Hessels, John Henry. An Eighth-Century Latin Anglo-Saxon Glossary. Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1890.
Cp: Lindsay, Wallace Martin. The Corpus Glossary. Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1921.
Cp: Wynn, J. B. An Edition of the Anglo-Saxon Corpus Glosses. Unpubl. Diss. Oxford: 1961.
DOE: Cameron, Angus, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette di Paolo Healey, et al. (eds.). Dictionary of Old English (A to G). CD-Rom. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies for the Dictionary of Old English Project, 2008.
Ep, Erf: Pheifer, J.D. (ed.). Old English Glosses in the Epinal-Erfurt Glossary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974.
Ep: Brown, Alan Kelsey. The Epinal Glossary edited with Critical Commentary of the Vocabulary. Vol. I: Edition. Vol. II: Commentary. Diss., Stanford University. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1969.
HA: Cockayne, Oswald Thomas (ed.). "Herbarium Apuleii Platonici." In: Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England. Being a Collection of Documents, for the Most Part never before Printed, Illustrating the History of Sience in this Country before the Norman Conquest. Vol. 1. Rev. Ed. by Charles Singer. London: Holland Press, 1961. 1-325.
LA, Lor: Grattan, John Henry Grafton, and Charles Singer. Anglo-Saxon Magic and Medicine. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1952.
Laud: Stracke, J. Richard (ed.). The Laud Herbal Glossary. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1974.
LA: Cockayne, Oswald Thomas (ed.). "[Lacnunga] Recipies." In: Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England. Being a Collection of Documents, for the Most Part never before Printed, Illustrating the History of Sience in this Country before the Norman Conquest. Vol. 3. Rev. Ed. by Charles Singer. London: Holland Press, 1961. 2-81.
LB: Cockayne, Oswald Thomas (ed.). "Leech Book." In: Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England. Being a Collection of Documents, for the Most Part never before Printed, Illustrating the History of Sience in this Country before the Norman Conquest. Vol. 2. Rev. Ed. by Charles Singer. London: Longman [et. al.], 1961. 1-360.
LB: Leonhardi, Günther. Kleinere angelsächsische Denkmäler I. Bibliothek der ags. Prosa VI. Hamburg: Grand, 1905.
WW, Prosp, Br: Wright, Thomas. Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies. 2nd ed. by Richard Paul Wülcker. Reprint of the 1884 ed. published by Trübner, London. Vol. 1: Vocabularies. Vol. 2: Indices. New York: Gordon, 1976.
Berberich, Hugo, ed. Das Herbarium Apuleii nach einer früh-mittelenglischen Fassung. Anglistische Forschungen 5. Nachdruck Amsterdam, 1966. Heidelberg: Winter, 1902.
Bischoff, Bernard, et al. (eds.).. The Épinal, Erfurt, Werden and Corpus Glossaries. Early English manuscripts in facsimile 22. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1988.
D'Aronco, Maria Amalia and M. L. Cameron, eds.. The Old English Illustrated Pharmacopoeia: British Library Cotton Vitellius C.III. Early English Manuscripts in Faksimile 27. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1998.
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Grein, Christian-Wilhelm-Michael (ed.). Bibliothek der angelsächsischen Poesie. Göttingen: Wigand, 1864.
Hankins, Freda Richards. Bald's 'Leechbook' Reconsidered. Diss. Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1993.
Hilbelink, A.J.G. (ed.). Cotton MS Vitellius C III of the Herbarium Apuleii. Diss. Amsterdam: 1930.
Howald, Ernestus und Henricus Sigerist (eds.). Corpus Medicorum Latinorum. Bd.4. Antonii Musae de Herba Vettonica Liber. Pseudoapulei Herbarius. Anonymi de Taxone Liber. Sexti Placiti Liber Medicinae ex Animalibus etc. Leipzig: Teubner, 1927.
Hunger, Friedrich Wilhelm Tobias (ed.). The Herbal of Pseudo-Apuleius. From the ninth-century manuscript in the abbey of Monte Cassino [Codex Casinen-sis 97] together with the first printed edition of Jon. Phil. de Lignamine [Editio princeps Romae 1481] both in facsimile, described and annotated by F.W.T. Hunger. Leyden: Brill, 1935.
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Lindheim"s note (Dur, n. 57) "Gewöhnlich bezeichnet lat. BETONICA den "Eibisch" [i.e. marsh mallow] (occurrences see Förster (1917: 130, n. 5)" must stem from some misunderstanding as can be seen by comparison with Förster"s respective note; it should probably be "Gewöhnlich bezeichnet ae. bisceop-wyrt den "Eibisch"."


"GEROBOTANA. (ł‚ UERBENA. ł‚ SAGMEN) biscopwyrtel" printed in Förster (1917,138), cf. Förster"s respective note.


Förster (1917,131): Erroneous for GEROBOTANE?


Cf. MED, s.v. bishop(es-wort: "?a1300 Wor.F.157 Gloss. 184: ANDOA [!]: bischopwrt."




Kindschi (cf. note on AntK 109,16) reads biscopuwyrtil.


Rusche (1996,G161): "Read HIEROBOTANE."


Not clear


L.: bisceoþwyrt (a printing error?)