How to use
the Old English Aerobics Glossary
If you just want to look up words by headword, as in a glossary or dictionary, it could hardly be simpler. Just click on the first letter of the word you want to look up (the ġe- prefix is ignored, as in most dictionaries and glossaries; æ is alphabetized after a and ð/þ after t) and then select the word from the list of headwords that appears.
Each glossary entry displays all the spellings of the word: for words that can be declined or conjugated, these are displayed in a paradigm. Under that is a list of all the texts containing the word. Click on a title for a list of forms and references; click on a reference to go to the text and see the word in context.
The advanced lookup isn’t much more complicated than the simple lookup. You can search for headwords, attested forms, or definitions: just make the appropriate choice in the “Look in” box.
When searching remember that þ and ð are equivalent, and so are c and ċ and g and ġ. However, long and short vowels are not equivalent. If you don’t know how to type the special characters of Old English, use the keyboard helper buttons. (These are able to add characters only to the end of the search string.)
There are several ways to make an advanced search more advanced. First, you can search anywhere in a field (headword, attested form or definition) for the sequence you type (so a search on cyn finds cyning, ġecynd and trēocyn): this is the default. Or you can search at the beginning of the field (finding cyning but not ġecynd or trēocyn) or at the end (finding only trēocyn). Or you can request an exact match (a search on cyn will turn up nothing at all, but a search on cynn will find one entry).
When you choose “Whole word,” “At start of word” or “At end of word,” the position of the search string is considered relative to the word boundaries in a field as well as the beginning and end of the field. Thus a search for “kin” with “At start of word” selected will find the definitions “kinship” (cȳþþ) and “near kinswoman” (nȳdmāge), but not “drinking” (ġedrync). A headword search for the “Whole word” þe will turn up þēah ðe but not þeġn.
If you’re feeling brave, you can conduct fuzzy searches using regular expressions. Here are some useful ones:
- A period for any character: search on c.n to find candel and cennan. However, the period will not match long vowels (this is a limitation of the MySQL database which stores this site’s data). A question mark after the period makes the character optional.
- A period followed by an asterisk will match any number of letters, and also long vowels: search on c.*n to find not only candel and cennan, but also cēne, clǣne and ċirman.
- A bracketed group of letters forms a class of characters, any of which will make a match: c[ea]n will match candel and cennan, but not cynerīċe. The brackets may not contain long vowels.
- Alternative spellings may be enclosed in parentheses and separated by uprights (|): so searching for c(i|ie|y) in attested forms with “At start of attested form” checked will turn up a list of all words where c is followed by i, ie or y. This kind of search works well with long vowels. You can also use it to find headwords and attested forms with the ġe- prefix: (.?ge.?|ge)c in headwords with “At start of headword” checked will find all words where a (possibly optional) ġe- prefix occurs followed by c: a subset of the c entries.