Words about words
M. MICHAEL BRADY
The word wedding is a compound of the word “wed” and the suffix “ing,” a commonplace way of forming nouns from verbs. In turn, the word “wed” comes from the Old Norse (as well as other languages that evolved around the North Sea) neuter noun veð, meaning “pledge.” It first appeared in 1122 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of annals in Old English that chronicle the history of the Anglo-Saxons.
That chronicle started in the late 9th Century, during the reign of Alfred the Great (871-899). Many copies made of it were sent to monasteries throughout England, where they thereafter were independently updated. Consequently, there are many extant versions.
The most recent translation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle into modern English was made by scholar E.E.C. Gomme and published in 1909 by George Bell & Sons in London.
This article originally appeared in the March 12, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.