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)
; cleping

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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

Word History


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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near clepe

Cite this Entry

“Clepe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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