noun, f., n-decl., hapax legomenon

Type: plant

Last Update: 10.05.2011 11:20

Reference Last Update: 14.07.2022 07:31

Meanings Last Update: 10.05.2011 11:02

  • B: plant: native
    Bryonia L., bryony, a species of ~, Zaunrübe, eine Art von ~
  • A: plant: native
    ? Humulus lupulus L., hop, Gewöhnlicher Hopfen
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Comments Last Update: 10.05.2011 11:12

  • Comment on (A): ? Humulus lupulus L., hop, Gewöhnlicher Hopfen

    This identification (BT., s.v.; Cockayne 1962,III,325) is based on the assumption that it was known to the Anglo-Saxons that the hop plant (→hymele)[1] is dioecious[2] and the felmal (medicinal) plant was called ēowo-humele (according to OE ēowu 'ewe, weibliches Schaf'[3] galt.

  • Comment on (B): Bryonia L., bryony, a species of ~, Zaunrübe, eine Art von ~

    Lindheim (Dur 66) bases his identification on the assumption that OE hymele does not denote 'hops, Hopfen' because the ModE plant name is a borrowing from 15th century Netherlands.[4] Lindheim explains: "Ae. hymele < lat. HUMULUS oder +HUMILUS [generally glosses] allerlei Rankengewächse, z.B. eine 'Winden-Art' (POLYTRICHON und VOLVULA) Herb, LII und WW 379/13, die Zaunrübe' [...] Herb. LXVIII." Bon­ser (1963,360), who does not dismiss the identification ēowo-humele = H.lupulus, considers the identification with Bryonia: "From the occurence of the compound hege-hymele it is obvious that this plant grew wild in the hedges in Anglo-Saxon times; from that of the compound éowo-hymele (female hop-plant ?) it would appear that the Anglo-Saxons were aware that it was dioecius, though this is also true of the common bryony with which it is equated in the A.S. Herbal." But the denotation 'sheep-hops, Schaf-humele' can also have other reasons; cf., for example, the G names of Bryonia, which stem from the form of the plan's berries: NHG Schaftreck, Schafentel, NL schaapkeutel, schaapentel.[5]

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Occurrence Last Update: 19.07.2009 19:57

  • LB, 105/11 asg eowohumelan
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Image Last Update: 10.05.2011 11:20

? Humulus lupulus L., hop, Gewöhnlicher Hopfen


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

BW I: Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 1. Bern, Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1975.
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.
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.
Bonser, Wilfrid. The Medical Background of Anglo-Saxon England. London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1963.
Hagen, Ann. A Second Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink: Production & Distribution. First publ. 1995. Hock-wold cum Wilton, Norf.: Anglo-Saxon Books, 1995.
Marzell, Heinrich. Wörterbuch der deutschen Pflanzennamen. Mit Unterstützung der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Bearb. von Heinrich Marzell. Unter Mitw. von Wilhelm Wissmann. Köln: Parkland, 2000.
MS London, British Library, Royal 12 D.xvii.
Olds, Barbara M.. The Anglo-Saxon Leechbook III: A Critical Edition and Translation. Diss. Univ. of Denver. 1985.
Rusche, Philip Guthrie. The Cleopatra Glossaries. Diss. Yale Univ. Yale University, 1996.
Wright, Cyril E. (ed.). Bald's Leechbook. Early English manuscripts in facsimile. 5. Kopenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1955.

OE hymele is not identifyed distinctly.


Cf. Marzell (2000,II,902): "Der Hopfen ist zweihäusig. Die männlichen Blüten (Staubblüten) sind in herabhängenden Rispen angeordnet, die weiblichen (Stem­pelblüten) sind in kleinen Zapfen vereinigt."


Cf. Jordan (1967,149), who notes that ModE "ewe" is used to denote plant names even today.


This reasoning is doubtful, cf. Hoops (1911,I,282): "über den ersten Anbau des Hopfens in England sind wir nicht unterrichtet: er hat jedenfalls vor dem 16.Jh. keine nennenswerte Be­deutung gehabt."