war·​i·​son | \ ˈwer-ə-sən How to pronounce warison (audio) , ˈwa-rə- \

Definition of warison

: a bugle call to attack

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When Sir Walter Scott first encountered the word warison around the beginning of the 19th century, it was a rare word that had been around for six centuries, occasionally used to mean either "wealth or possessions" or "reward." In his 1805 poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Scott used the word to refer to a bugle call ordering soldiers to attack, probably because he misinterpreted what the word meant when he read it in "The Battle of Otterbourne," a ballad found in Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. The original word (which Scott encountered as Middle English "waryson") derives from the Anglo-French garisun, which means "healing, protection" and is also the source of the English word garrison, meaning "a military post."

First Known Use of warison

1805, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for warison

probably a misunderstanding by Sir Walter Scott of Middle English waryson reward, security, from Anglo-French *warison, garisun healing, protection — more at garrison

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The first known use of warison was in 1805

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Cite this Entry

“Warison.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warison. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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