Altfranzösisches etymologisches Wörterbuch



The “Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français” (DEAF) is a fundamental dictionary of Old French, encompassing the timespan between 842 (date of the Strasbourg Oath between Louis the German and Charles the Bald against Lothair I transmitted in the Old High German and Old French languages) until the mid-14th century (the epochal boundary with Middle French on philological and social grounds).

All materials available will be evaluated: Dictionaries, glossaries, and texts of a literary and non-literary nature. The slip box presently contains 1.5 million slips referring to 12 million references; the slips are supplemented by means of digital material. After the evaluation and interpretation of all attestations, all Old French words with all of their meanings will be garnered from this mass of information, being thereby reduced to the article structure of the dictionary.

The DEAF is an etymological dictionary, meaning that it explains the origin of the words and their semantic development. In order to show their relations, the words are ordered by word families. The word heading is the Old French word which developed directly from the etymon. The general order is alphabetic, so that the words of unknown origin can stand in their correct places. The etymological discussions include the neighbouring languages, e.g., the survival of the etymon in other Romance languages, and Old French loanwords in languages such as German (German words “Galopp” and “galoppieren”, etc.). Each meaning of a word is captured by a definition. The contexts are principally taken from primary sources, and, thus, not cribbed from dictionaries. The work is based on a comprehensive bibliography, which lists all texts, manuscripts, and editions, ordering, dating, and localising these within the history of belles lettres and academic literature, and critically evaluating in terms of quality.


  • PD Dr. Thomas Städtler (Project Leader)
Running time
Project type

Contact person for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17