Middle English


: the English in use from the 12th to 15th centuries see Indo-European Languages Table

Examples of Middle English in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As with many English words, its history reflects the language's development through various stages and influences, including Old English, Middle English, and the interaction with other languages and cultures over the centuries. Erik Kain, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 The Chaucer findings are of great interest to my wife, who is a Middle English scholar, and to Cannon, a family friend, because the quality of Chaucer’s personal character matters a lot to anybody who teaches his work. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2022 Tolkien believed students should focus on Old and Middle English texts, while Lewis thought English Literature post-Geoffrey Chaucer was preferable. Emma Fraser, Town & Country, 4 Sep. 2022 The Middle English lyrics tell of Christ’s birth: A nywe werke is come on honde. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec. 2021 Written, directed and produced by filmmaker David Lowery, the movie is based on a 14th-century Middle English poem titled Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. David M. Perry, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Middle English.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Middle English was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near Middle English

Cite this Entry

“Middle English.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Middle%20English. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

Middle English

: the English language of the 12th to 15th centuries
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