To hele them of somme sekenesses and maladyes and all illness of the stomach. On the rivalry between illness, sickness and malady in Middle English


  • Weronika Małgorzata Kaźmierczak Casimir Pulaski Radom University



borrowing, Innsbruck Corpus, medical terminology, Middle English, native term


The present paper analyses the fates of the native nouns illness and sickness and those of the French borrowing malady in Middle English. Focusing on the regional and temporal dimensions of their rivalry, the study uses the evidence from the Innsbruck Corpus of Middle English Prose (ICMEP, Markus 2008), a collection of 129 works of Middle English prose. The analysis also makes use of other databases such as Collins English Dictionary (CED), the Historical Thesaurus of English (HTE), Middle English Dictionary online (MED), Merriam-Webster Dictionary (MWD), and the Oxford English Dictionary online (OED). The degree of the adaptability of the terms in question is best reflected in their varied frequency in the ICMEP’s texts. The tentative research results place malady (107 attestations in total) far behind its Germanic equivalent sickness (701 attestations). A single instance of illness testifies to its low recognisability in the Innsbruck Corpus of Middle English Prose, probably due to its being often replaced by sickness, which leads to a considerable reduction in the use of the term.


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How to Cite

Kaźmierczak, W. M. (2022). To hele them of somme sekenesses and maladyes and all illness of the stomach. On the rivalry between illness, sickness and malady in Middle English. Radomskie Studia Filologiczne. Radom Philological Studies, 1(11), 194–213.