noun, m., a-decl., 28 occ.

Type: plant

Last Update: 24.04.2011 10:48

Old-English: cneholen, cneoholen, cneopholen, cneowhole, cneowholen, cneuholen, cnioholaen, cnioholen, cniolen, creholegn, ceowholen,


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References Last Update: 16.06.2022 05:02

Meaning Last Update: 29.07.2009 12:50

  • A: plant: native
    Ruscus aculeatus L., butcher's broom, Stachliger Mäusedorn
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Comment Last Update: 07.05.2012 09:48

  • Comment on (A): Ruscus aculeatus L., butcher's broom, Stachliger Mäusedorn

    Ad genus and LB 37/10: The context of the occurrence reads "Wiþ þeorwærce wyrc to drence alexandre, sinfulle, wermod, twa cneowholen, saluian, safine, wealmore […]" If we assume that twa only defines cneowholen, the form is a neutral napl., cf. Cockayne (1962,II,121, note 2), who translates "the two kneeholns" and uses the objective explanation, that there are more than one species associated with this name. But the recipe is preceded by the following: Oxa lærde þisne læcedom, genime wealwyrt 7 clufþung 7 efelastan . 7 tungilsinwyrt, IX bru-newyrt, bisceopwyrt 7 attorlaþan […]. The number IX (nigon) not only refers to →brun-wyrt but also all plants that are named thereafter, this means that one is to use nine times the amount of the plants named after the number - in contrast to the plants named before the indicated measurement (cf. Cockayne's translation: "in the proportion nine to one"). It seems obvious that in the second recipe the number, too, indicates a mixing ratio, i.e. 2:1. In the first recipe the plant names after number IX are no plural forms, therefore we neither can expect one here, and cneowholen therefore is a nasg.

    Our identification is supported by the glossary entries (RUSCUS) and the ModE correspondent: Britten/Holland (1886,606) note: "RUSCUS ACULEATUS L., Knee Holly, †Knee Holme, Knee Hulver, Kneehul."

    CAMEDAPHNE (C71.2) denotes Daphne laureola L., spurge-laurel, Lorbeer-Seidelbast, while Gk χαμαιδάφνη means 'low laurel, niederer Lorbeer'. Possible connections to R. aculeatus are the facts that both plants are evergreen and of low ('knee-high') growth.

    Based on André (1985, s.v UICTORIOLA) D'Aronco (1998,53) also suggests Ruscus hypophyllum L., spineless butcher's broom, Hadernblatt. This explains the glosses (e.g. Dur, Laud, etc.).

    MIRSTILLAGO, which Stryker cannot explain (see respective note), is probably erroneous for MUSTELLAGO, a synonym of CHAMEDAPHNE (cf. Andrè, 1956, s.v.).

    SINPATUS deems to be an erroneous SYMPHYTUM (cf. Förster's note on 128,182), which denoted Symphytum officinale L., common comfrey, Arznei-Beinwell. A possible explanation is that in the L HA the chapter on HERBA VICTORIOLA (HS 58) is immediately followed by capter HERBA CONFIRMA (= SYMPHYTUM, HS 59).

    Etymology: lit. 'knee-holly' (cf. →holen) because the leaves of R. aculeatus, which narrow to a piercing point, are similar to the dentate leaves of the English holly (cf. Hegi, 1906,II,265 and V, 237). According to Cockayne (1961,III,319) and NED (1888, s.v. Knee-holly) the name also refers to the fact that the plant only reaches knee hight. Also cf. Gk χαμαιδάφνη 'low laurel, niedriger Lorbeer'.

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Occurrences Last Update: 19.10.2010 06:52

  • AntFö, 128,182 SINPATUS cneowhole
  • Br,WW, 300,12 RUSCUS cneowholen
  • Br,WW, 300,21 UICTORIALE cneowholen
  • C 36, Gough S.276 UICTORIOLE cneholen
  • C 71.2, Meritt 73b, 13 CAMEDAFNE cneowholen
  • ClQu, 37,5 RUSCUS cneoholen, fyres [1]
  • ClSt, M 314 MIRSTILLAGO[2] cneowholen
  • Cp, 1784(R 245) RUSCUS cnioholen
  • Dur, 293 RUSCUS cneopholen
  • Dur, 340 UICTORIALE cneopholen
  • Ep, 879 RUSCUS cnioholaen
  • Erf, 879 RUSCUS cniolen
  • HA, LIX, 162/3 nsg Cneowholen
  • HA, LIX, 162/6 asg þe man UICTORIOLE 7 oþrum naman cneowholen[3] nemneþ
  • HA, LIX, 26/16 nsg UICTORIOLA ƀ is cneowholen
  • LA, 100/18 nasg cneowholen
  • LA, 150/2 nasg cneowholen
  • Laud, 1504 VICTORIOLA cneuholen
  • LB, 22/6 nasg cneowholen
  • LB, 25/13 nasg cneowholen
  • LB, 27/14 nasg cneowholen
  • LB, 31/33 nasg cneowholen
  • LB, 37/10 napl (?) cneowholen
  • LB, 37/14 nasg cneowholen
  • LB, 37/5 nasg cneowholen
  • LB, 80/11f nasg cneowholen
  • Ld, Holth. Nr. 129 RUSCUS cne[o]hole[g]n
  • Ld, Holth. Nr.252 RUSCUS cre[o]holegn[4]
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Etymology Last Update: 24.04.2011 10:48

  • Etymology: Etymology-Comment:
  • Word-Formation:
  • Word-Formation-Comment:
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Image Last Update: 24.04.2011 10:48

Ruscus aculeatus L., butcher's broom, Stachliger Mäusedorn


Botanical-Information: stylised plate

Source: →reference-information

Thomé, Otto Wilhelm. Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. In 4 Mappen ; 531 Tafeln in naturgetreuen Farben mit 668 Pflanzenarten. Leipzip: Teubner, 1938.

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Research Literature

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BW I: Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 1. Bern, Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1975.
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.
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Dur: Lindheim, B. von. Das Durhamer Pflanzenglossar. Beiträge zur englischen Philologie. 35. Bochum-Langendreer: Pöppinghaus, 1941.
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.
Ld: Glogger, Placidus. Das Leidener Glossar. Cod. Voss. lat. 4⁰ 69. 3 Teile in 4 Bdn. Teil 1 : Text der Handschrift Teil 2 : Erklärungsversuche Teil 3A : Verwandte Handschriften und Ergänzungen. Teil 3B : Indices. Augsburg: Pfeiffer, 1901.
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.
André, Jacques. Les noms de plantes dans la Rome antique. Paris: Société d'édition 'les belles lettres', 1985.
Berberich, Hugo, ed. Das Herbarium Apuleii nach einer früh-mittelenglischen Fassung. Anglistische Forschungen 5. Nachdruck Amsterdam, 1966. Heidelberg: Winter, 1902.
Bierbaumer, Peter. "Zu J.V. Goughs Ausgabe einiger altenglischer Glossen." Anglia 95, 1/2 (1977): 115-121.
Bischoff, Bernard, et al. (eds.).. The Épinal, Erfurt, Werden and Corpus Glossaries. Early English manuscripts in facsimile 22. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1988.
Britten, James, and Robert Holland. A Dictionary of English Plant-Names. London: Trübner, 1886.
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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Cf. Rusche (1996, 678): The related entries of Ep and Cp only have cnēowholen as gloss.


Rusche (1996, 665): "Read MUSTELLAGO".


MS H: ceowholen.


N.: "l. cneo".