Joanna Esquibel & Anna Wojtyś University of Warsaw and University of Warsaw “Devil aka Satan: an enemy or fiend? On the rivalry between the familiar and the foreign in early English.”


The present paper discusses the distribution of the two most common Mediaeval English euphemisms of Satan, i.e. fiend and enemy, in religious prose. We focus on the rivalry between the foreign word and the native word, comparing the contexts in which the two words tended to occur, and attempting to determine the semantic status of the French word enemy in relation to the sense originally denoted by fiend. The data come from the Middle English period, when French loanwords began to compete semantically with native words.

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