Walter William Skeat

Walter William Skeat

Walter William Skeat (November 21, 1835 - 1912), English philologist, was born in London on the 21st of November 1835, and educated at King's College School (Wimbledon), Highgate School, and Christ's College, Cambridge, of which he became a fellow in July 1860. The noted palaeographer T. C. Skeat was his grandson.


In 1878 he was elected Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Cambridge. He completed Mitchell Kemble's edition of the "Anglo-Saxon Gospels", and did much other work both in Anglo-Saxon and in Gothic, but is perhaps most generally known for his labours in Middle English, and for his standard editions of Chaucer and Langland's Piers Plowman.

As he himself generously declared, he was at first mainly guided in the study of Chaucer by Henry Bradshaw, with whom he was to have participated in the edition of Chaucer planned in 1870 by the University of Oxford, having declined in Bradshaw's favour an offer of the editorship made to himself. Bradshaw's perseverance was not equal to his genius, and the scheme came to nothing for the time, but was eventually resumed and carried into effect by Skeat in an edition of six volumes (1894), a supplementary volume of "Chaucerian Pieces" being published in 1897. He also issued an edition of Chaucer in one volume for general readers, and a separate edition of his "Treatise on the Astrolabe", with a learned commentary.

His edition of Piers Plowman in three parallel texts was published in 1886; and, besides the "Treatise on the Astrolabe", he edited numerous books for the Early English Text Society, including the "Bruce" of John Barbour, Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, the romances of Havelok the Dane and William of Palerne, and Ælfric's "Lives of the Saints" (4 vols.). For the "Scottish Text Society" he edited "The Kingis Quair", usually ascribed to James I of Scotland, and he published an edition (2 vols., 1871) of Chatterton, with an investigation of the sources of the obsolete words employed by him.


In pure philology, Skeat's principal achievement is his "Etymological English Dictionary" (4 parts, 1879-1882; rev, and enlarged, 1910). While preparing the dictionary he wrote hundreds of short articles on word origins for the London-based journal "Notes and Queries".

His other works include:
*"Specimens of English from 1394 to 1597" (1871)
*"Specimens of Early English from 1298 to 1393" (1872), in conjunction with Richard Morris
*"Principles of English Etymology" (2 series, 1887 and 1891)
*"A Concise Dictionary of Middle English" (1888), in conjunction with AL Mayhew
*"A Student's Pastime" (1896), a volume of essays
*"The Chaucer Canon" (1900)
*"A Primer of Classical and English Philology" (1905)

External links

* [;idno=cdl383 A Moeso-Gothic glossary] Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. {Reprinted by} [ Cornell University Library Digital Collections]

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  • Walter William Skeat — (* 21. November 1835 in London; † 7. Oktober 1912 in Cambridge[1]) war ein namhafter englischer Philologe. Er schrieb The Principles of English Etymology (Grundlagen der englischen Etymologie) und Etymological English Dictionary (Etymologisches… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Walter William Skeat — noun English philologist (1835 1912) • Syn: ↑Skeat • Instance Hypernyms: ↑philologist, ↑philologue …   Useful english dictionary

  • Walter W. Skeat — Walter William Skeat (* 21. November 1835 in London; † 7. Oktober 1912 in Cambridge[1]) war ein namhafter englischer Philologe. Er schrieb The Principles of English Etymology (Grundlagen der englischen Etymologie) und Etymological English… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Skeat,Walter William — Skeat (skēt), Walter William. 1835 1912. English philologist who wrote An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (1879 1882) and began the systematic study of English place names. * * * …   Universalium

  • Skeat, Walter William — ▪ British anthropologist born Oct. 14, 1866, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, Eng. died July 24, 1953, London       British ethnographer of the Malay Peninsula whose detailed works laid the foundation for later ethnographic studies of the area.… …   Universalium

  • SKEAT, WALTER WILLIAM —    English philologist, born in London; professor of Anglo Saxon at Cambridge; author of Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, and a great authority on Early English literature; the first Director of the Dialect Society, established in …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Skeat, Rev. Walter William —    Litt.D., LL.D. (b. 1835)    Philologist and Early English scholar; has ed. Langland s Piers Plowman, The Lay of Havelock, Barbour s Bruce, and other early English texts, a complete ed. of Chaucer, 6 vols. (1894), and of many of his works… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Skeat — noun English philologist (1835 1912) • Syn: ↑Walter William Skeat • Instance Hypernyms: ↑philologist, ↑philologue …   Useful english dictionary

  • Skeat —   [skiːt], W. W. (Walter William), englischer Sprachwissenschaftler, * London 21. 11. 1835, ✝ Cambridge 6. 10. 1912; ab 1878 Professor in Cambridge. Skeat machte sich durch Editionen alt und mittelenglischer Texte einen Namen (W. Langlands »...… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Skeat — (spr. ßkīt), Walter William, Anglist, geb. 12. Nov. 1835 in London, studierte in Cambridge und wirkt dort als Professor des Angelsächsischen an der Universität. Er gab eine Reihe altenglischer Dichtungen für die Early English Text Society heraus …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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