Entries linking to ashen
"powdery remains of fire," Middle English asshe, from Old English æsce "ash," from Proto-Germanic *askon (source also of Old Norse and Swedish aska, Old High German asca, German asche, Middle Dutch asche, Gothic azgo "ashes"), from PIE root *as- "to burn, glow." Spanish and Portuguese ascua "red-hot coal" are Germanic loan-words.
An ancient symbol of grief or repentance; hence Ash Wednesday (c. 1300), from the custom introduced by Pope Gregory the Great of sprinkling ashes on the heads of penitents on the first day of Lent. Ashes meaning "mortal remains of a person" is attested from late 13c., in reference to the ancient custom of cremation. The meaning "finely pulverized lava thrown from a volcano" is from 1660s.
suffix added to nouns to produce adjectives meaning "made of, of the nature of" (such as golden, oaken, woolen), corresponding to Latin -anus, -inus, Greek -inos; from Proto-Germanic *-ina- (from PIE *-no-, adjectival suffix).
Common in Old, Middle, and early Modern English: e.g. fyren "on fire; made of fire," rosen "made or consisting of roses," hunden "of dogs, canine," beanen "of beans," baken "baked," breaden "of bread;" Wyclif has reeden made of or consisting of reeds." The few surviving instances are largely discarded in everyday use, and the simple form of the noun doubles as adjective (gold ring, wool sweater). Some are used in special contexts (brazen, wooden).
popular name of a common type of forest tree of Eurasia, North America, and North Africa, Middle English asshe, from Old English æsc "ash tree," from Proto-Germanic *askaz, *askiz (source also of Old Norse askr, Old Saxon ask, Middle Dutch esce, German Esche), from PIE root *os- "ash tree" (source also of Armenian haci "ash tree," Albanian ah "beech," Greek oxya "beech," Latin ornus "wild mountain ash," Russian jasen, Lithuanian uosis "ash").
The close-grained wood of the ash is tough and elastic, and it was the preferred wood for spear-shafts, so Old English æsc sometimes meant "spear," especially in poetry, as in æsc-here "company armed with spears," æsc-plega "war," literally "spear-play." Æsc also was the name of the Old English runic letter that begins the word.
updated on September 26, 2022
a face turned ashen