\ ˈklēp How to pronounce clepe (audio) \
cleped\ ˈklēpt , ˈklept How to pronounce clepe (audio) \; yclept\ i-​ˈklept How to pronounce clepe (audio) \ also cleped or ycleped\ i-​ˈklept How to pronounce clepe (audio) , -​ˈklēpt \; cleping

Definition of clepe

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Clepe itself is a word that is considered archaic and nearly obsolete, but its past participle "yclept" (pronounced ih-KLEPT) continues to be used, albeit rarely. In Old English, the prefix ge- denoted the completion or result of an action; in Middle English, the prefix shifted to "y-" and appeared in words such as "ybaptised" and "yoccupied." Eventually, all the "y-" words except "yclept" fell into disuse. One reason that "yclept" persists may be that it provides a touch of playfulness that appeals to some writers. Another may be that although "yclept" is an unfamiliar term to most people, its meaning can usually be inferred from context. Whatever the reason, "yclept" continues to turn up occasionally in current publications despite its strange and antiquated look.

Examples of clepe in a Sentence

the brewpub, yclept Ye Olde Taverne, has been decorated in Merrie Olde England to within an inch of its life

First Known Use of clepe

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clepe

Middle English, from Old English clipian to speak, call; akin to Old Frisian kleppa to ring

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The first known use of clepe was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clepe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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