Old English


: the language of the English people from the time of the earliest documents in the seventh century to about 1100 see Indo-European Languages Table
: English of any period before Modern English

Examples of Old English in a Sentence

Old English is very different from modern English.
Recent Examples on the Web Hair-raising accounts of a similar sea monster were recorded by Alexandrian scribes as early as the second century A.D.; these accounts spread through Europe and Asia in Arabic, Coptic, Latin and Old English translations. Nina Goldman, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Old 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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of Old English was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near Old English

Cite this Entry

“Old English.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Old%20English. Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition

Old English

: the language of the English people before about 1100
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