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† gilden, adj.

Forms:  OE geldn- (inflected form, rare), OE gyldæn (rare), OE gylddenne (accusative singular masculine, transmission error), OE gylde (transmission error), OE gyldel (transmission error), OE gyldenn- (inflected form), OE gyldn- (inflected form), OE gylgenum (dative plural, transmission error), OE–eME gelden, OE (rare)–ME gyldyn, OE–15 gylden, OE (rare)–18 gilden, lOE–ME gyldene, eME ȝulden (south-west midlands), ME geldene, ME geldyn, ME gildan, ME gildene, ME gildin, ME gildyn, ME gulden (chiefly south-western and south-west midlands), ME guldene (chiefly south-western and south-west midlands), ME guylden (south-western and south-west midlands), ME (south-west midlands)–16 guilden, 15 guildin, 15 gyldeyn. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with Old Frisian gelden  , gilden  , golden  , gulden  , Old Dutch guldīn   (Middle Dutch guldijn  , guldin  , gulden  , Dutch gulden  ), Old Saxon guldīn   (Middle Low German gülden  , gōlden  ), Old High German guldīn   (Middle High German guldīn  , German (now arch.) gülden  , (regional) gulden  ), Old Icelandic gullinn  , Old Swedish, Swedish gyllen  , Old Danish, Danish gylden  , Gothic gulþeins   < the Germanic base of gold n.1   + the Germanic base of -en suffix4.
Compare golden adj.
Old English gylden   shows i-mutation of inherited short u   caused by the original ī   of the suffix (see discussion at -en suffix4).
In sense 3   originally representing an extended use of sense 1a. In early use it is not always clear whether the referent is merely decorated with gold or wholly made of gold (i.e. sense 1a). In later use increasingly influenced by gild v. and gilded adj. In some instances (e.g. quot. a1599) perhaps reinterpreted as a strong past participle form of gild v.: compare -en suffix6.

 a. Made of gold.

OE   Beowulf (2008) 2809   Dyde him of healse hring gyldenne þioden þristhydig.
OE   Daniel 204   Þæt hie þider hweorfan wolden, guman to þam gyldnan gylde.
lOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough interpolation) anno 1070   Hi namen þære twa gildene scrines & ix seolferne.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 8180   Onn hiss hæfedd wærenn twa Gildene cruness sette.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 7135   Heo bar an hire honde ane guldene [c1300 Otho goldene] bolle.
c1300   St. John Evangelist (Laud) l. 505 in C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 417 (MED)   For-to ȝyue þis pouere Man bote ane guyldene ring.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Gött.) l. 6632   Þai þat war in godes half..honurd noght þat gilden [a1400 Trin. Cambr. gulden] calf.
c1450  (?a1400)    Wars Alexander (Ashm.) l. 3667 (MED)   Be-twene þe pelers was piȝt..Gilden wynes with grapis of gracious stanes.
a1475  (?a1350)    Seege Troye (Harl.) (1927) l. 38   Þe kyng of troye hathe in his lond A wonder þyng..That is a Gyldyn weders ffelle [a1400 Egerton a shepes skyn of golde].
a1525   Eng. Conquest Ireland (Trin. Dublin) (1896) 92 (MED)   The pope..sent to the kynge a gulden rynge.

OE—a1525(Hide quotations)


 b. figurative. Golden; rich; precious, illustrious.

c1225  (?c1200)    Sawles Warde (Bodl.) (1938) 20 (MED)   Bituhhe muchel & lutel is in euch worldlich þing þe middel wei ȝuldene [c1225 Royal guldene].
?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 250   Þe middel wei of mesure is eauer guldene.
c1330   Roland & Vernagu (Auch.) (1882) l. 331   An image of gret pouste, Stode on a roche bi þe se, In þe gilden lond.
a1500  (▸1422)    J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. (Rawl.) (1898) 148 (MED)   Senec called the worlde the gyldyn worlde, whan roialmes weryn gouernyd by wys men.
1611   J. Davies Scourge of Folly 109   A gilden Gentleman Lye with a Rogue-reiected Curtezan!

c1225—1611(Hide quotations)


 2. Of the colour of gold; golden.

OE   tr. Pseudo-Apuleius Herbarium (Vitell.) (1984) cxxxi. 168   Þæt ðridde cyn [of basilisca] ys sanguineus, þæt is blodread, eac swilce heo gylden [c1150 Harl. 6258B gylden] on heafde sy [L. tertius est sanguineus capite aureo].
OE   tr. Gospel of Nicodemus (Cambr.) xviii. §1. 201   Þær wæs færinga geworden on ansyne swylce þær gylden sunna onæled wære and ofer us ealle eondlyhte.
c1450  (?a1400)    Wars Alexander (Ashm.) l. 4985 (MED)   Þar bade a brid..all gilden was hire gorge with golden fethirs.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. vii. sig. S3v   The next morning began a little to make a guilden shewe of a good meaning.
1605   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. i. iii. 94   Neuer mine eyes in pleasant Spring behold The azure Flaxe, the guilden Marigold.
1674   M. Lister Let. 20 Nov. in H. Oldenburg Corr. (1977) XI. 129   I have had out of the Isle of Shepy in the river of Thames very sharkes Teeth dug up there, wch could not well be sayd to be petrifyed, tho, as to the colour, they were some what guilden with a vitriolic tarnish.
1729   G. Adams tr. Sophocles Oedipus Coloneus i. i. in tr. Sophocles Trag. II. 115   The Fields are gilt with gilden Saffron.

OE—1729(Hide quotations)


 3. Covered in a thin layer of gold; gilded; (in early use) decorated with gold. See discussion in the note in the etymology.In quot. OE   rendering a post-classical form of classical Latin chrysendeta (neuter plural) dishes or vessels inlaid with gold; cf. Isidore ( Origines 20.4.8), the putative source.

OE   Antwerp-London Gloss. (2011) 93   Crisendica, gyldena uel gegilde fatu.
c1330  (?c1300)    Guy of Warwick (Auch.) l. 5217   He smot him ouer þe gilden scheld.
c1390  (?c1350)    Barlaam & Josaphat (Vernon) l. 330 in C. Horstmann Altengl. Legenden (1875) 1st Ser. 219 (MED)   A Gret kyng..In a Guildene Cart was lad.
?a1475   Ludus Coventriae (1922) 69   Whan þou come to jherusalem to þe gyldyn gate.
a1500   Sir Degrevant (Cambr.) (1949) l. 296 (MED)   Gleves gleteryng glent Opon geldene scheldus.
1526   C. Mery Talys f. iiii   Euery trew mylner that tollythe trewlye hath a gyldeyn thombe.
1531   Tyndale Answere Mores Dialoge f. viijv   When he layeth Timothe vn to my charge..then he weneth that he hath wonne his gylden spores.
1573   T. Twyne tr. Virgil in T. Phaer & T. Twyne tr. Virgil Whole .xii. Bks. Æneidos xi. H h j b   Their helmets fayer into the fier, and guilden swordes they threw.
a1599   Spenser Canto Mutabilitie vii. xxxiii, in Faerie Queene (1609) sig. Ii2   His hornes were gilden all with golden studs.
1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. 59   The gilden piller Milliarium, erected at the head or top of the Rom. Forum.
1640   Second Tome Homilies 73 in Certaine Homilies   To spread us abroad these goodly carven, and gilden books.
1880   R. H. Stoddard Castle in Air ii. 40   My barges ride With gilden pennons blown from side to side.

OE—1880(Hide quotations)


Special uses


  gilden mouth   n.  [after Hellenistic Greek χρυσόστομος (‘Chrysostom’) ‘golden-mouthed’ (see chrysostomic adj.), the posthumous cognomen of the Early Church Father] (an epithet of) St John, archbishop of Constantinople (d. 407), an Early Church Father renowned for his eloquence and persuasiveness as a preacher; = goldenmouth n. at golden adj. and n. Special uses 2a.Quot. eOE   shows a weak adjective gyldenmūþa golden-mouthed, eloquent, also found in use with more general reference in Old English, here reflecting use by Bede ( Metrical Life of St. Cuthbert Prol. 23) with reference to John Chrysostom.

[eOE   Bede Glosses (Corpus Cambr. 183) in H. D. Meritt Old Eng. Glosses (1945) 16/1   Crisostomus, gyldenmuþa.]
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 11380   Iohn gilden-moth sais wit þis dome þat [etc.].
c1450   tr. G. Deguileville Pilgrimage Lyfe Manhode (Cambr.) (1869) 192 (MED)   The which, as Gildene mouth seith, mown lede the ship to hauene.

a1400—c1450(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).

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