Entries linking to Runnymede
a modern book-form to represent Old English run, rune "secret, mystery, dark mysterious statement, (secret) council," also "a runic letter" (runstæf), from Proto-Germanic *runo (source also of Old Norse run "a secret, magic sign, runic character," Old High German runa "a secret conversation, whisper," Gothic runa), from PIE *ru-no-, source of technical terms of magic in Germanic and Celtic (source also of Gaelic run "a secret, mystery, craft, deceit, purpose, intention, desire," Welsh rhin "a secret, charm, virtue"). Also see Runnymede.
The word entered Middle English as roun and by normal evolution would have become Modern English *rown, but it died out mid-15c. when the use of runes did. The modern usage is from late 17c., from German philologists who had reintroduced the word in their writings from a Scandinavian source (such as Danish rune, from Old Norse run).
The presumption often is that the magical sense was the original one in the word and the use of runes as letters was secondary to ancient Germanic peoples, but this is questioned by some linguists. The runic alphabet itself is believed to have developed by 2c. C.E. from contact with Greek writing, with the letters modified to be more easily cut into wood or stone. Related: Runed; runecraft.
The second syllable (also in Old Frisian alond, Middle Dutch eiland) was added later to distinguish it from homonyms, especially Old English ea "water" (see ea). As an adjective from 1620s.
Spelling modified 16c. by association with similar but unrelated isle. Similar formation in Old Frisian eiland, Middle Dutch eyland, German Eiland, Danish öland, etc. In place names, Old English ieg is often used of "slightly raised dry ground offering settlement sites in areas surrounded by marsh or subject to flooding" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names].
Island universe "solar system" (1846) translates German Weltinsel (von Humboldt, 1845). An Old English cognate was ealand "river-land, watered place, meadow by a river." Related: Islander.
"meadow," Middle English mede, from Old English mæd, Anglian and Kentish med "meadow, pasture," from Proto-Germanic *medwo (source also of Old Frisian mede, Dutch made, German Matte "meadow," Old English mæþ "harvest, crop"), from PIE *metwa- "a mown field," from root *me- (4) "to cut down grass or grain." Now only archaic or poetic.
updated on October 22, 2021