What Old English (and by Old English I mean the language of Anglo-Saxons, recorded in written works from VII to X century A.D.) adjective is the most appropriate to describe the feeling of loneliness as opposed to just being alone?

I was unable to locate this specific meaning in any of the accessible English to OE dictionaries and came to question the very existence of the concept of "feeling lonely" in Anglo-Saxon literature.
Sadly, I've a very limited experience in reading OE literary sources, so I hoped to tap into yours.
I would appreciate non-adjective phrases as well, if you know any.

  • Hello, Grenelef. If you read through the advice at the Help Center, you will find that reasonable research is expected to have been carried out and posted. Looking up 'lonely' in a thesaurus is the obvious place to start. Apr 26, 2016 at 10:03
  • 5
    The OP is asking for a word used in the 7th through 10th centuries CE. I looked up lonely on Etyomoline and saw that it dates from ca 1600. Forsaken as in lonely dates from mid 13th century, although forsake as in give up is from the Old Saxon farsakan Perhaps the OP should be asking on a different site, but dimissing the Q as showing no research seems high-handed.
    – ab2
    Apr 27, 2016 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


Entering "alone" into http://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/ comes up with a few:

1. separate alone single not joined with others distinct

solitary being lone dweller recluse one dwelling alone

lonely wanderer

Further looking about comes up with usages, here's ánstapa in lines 12-15 of The Panther:

... Is þæt deor pandher
bi noman haten,      þæs þe niþþa bearn,
wisfæste weras      on gewritum cyþað
bi þam anstapan.  

...which one translation offers as:

This beast is called panther, as the learned among the children of men report in their books concerning that lonely wanderer.

  • I'll have to remember this source!
    – ab2
    May 22, 2016 at 2:02

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