[Spellyans] "Public house"

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 13:52:33 IST 2011

Nance 1938 gives *dewotty 'drink-shop, ale-house', which is based on Welsh dioty 'ale-house'.
UC dewotty appears now in the SWF glossary as diwotty, the SWF for 'drink' being
diwes. The attested forms for 'drink' are dywes x 2; dewas x 12; thewas x 1.

Nance presumably coined *dewotty on purist grounds. We have two attested words
for 'public house, tavern, ale-house', however.

In tavern sur ov eva ymons pur ruth age myn BM 3308
Caupona…A Tavern, an Ale-house, a Victualling-house; A. [& C[ornish]] Tavargn AB; 47a
Taberna…A tavarn or victualling house…Tshyi tavarn AB: 160b.

HOSTELRI, an inn, an alehouse, a victualling house ACB R 2
Hostelri, a Tavern, Alehouse Borlase

It is possible that Pryce borrowed hostelri from Breton ostaleri, but the
differing second vowel and the initial h- in hostelry make this unlikely.
Nance thought the word was genuine for he includes it in his 1952 dictionary
s.v. hostelry, though removing h- he gives ostlery.

It might be better to retain the h- and to consider that hostelry is to be stressed
on the second syllable.



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