Bosworth Toller's


Dictionary online


  • noun [ masculine ]
Dictionary links
bisceop, biscop, biscep, es; m.
BISHOP, prelate; episcopus
Show examples
  • Se bisceop is gecweden episcopus and is ofersceáwigend on Englisc, ðæt he ofersceáwige symle his underþeóddan the bishop is called episcopus, that is in English, overseer,

    because he constantly oversees his subordinates,

      L. Ælf. P. 37; Th. ii. 378, 28.
  • Nis ná máre betwyx mæsse-preóste and bisceop, búton ðæt [Th. ii. 348, 24] se bisceop is geset to máran bletsunge ðonne se mæsse-preóst sý; ðæt is, circan to hálgigenne, and to hádigenne preóstas, to bisceopgenne cild [Th. ii. 348, 26: MS. men to biscopienne], and to bletsigenne ele there is no difference between a mass-priest and a bishop, but that the bishop is appointed for greater benediction [blessing] than is the mass-priest; that is, to hallow churches, and to ordain priests, to confirm children, and to bless oil, 36; Th. ii. 378, 20; v. mæsse-preóst. Seó mǽgþ hafþ twegen bisceopas

    the province has two bishops,

      Bd. 4, 5; S. 573, 33.
a chief priest of the Jews; pontifex
Show examples
  • Se forma biscop, ðe God silf gesette, wæs Aaron geháten

    the first high priest, whom God himself appointed, was called Aaron,

      L. Ælf. P. 38; Th. ii. 378, 32.
  • Scrídde ðone bisceop mid línenum reáfe

    vestivit pontificem subucula linea,

      Lev. 8, 7.
  • Ðá astyredon ða bisceopas ða menegu

    pontifices autem concitaverunt turbam,

      Mk. Bos. 15, 11.
  • Se bisceop acsode ðone Hǽlend

    pontifex interrogavit Iesum,

      Jn. Bos. 18, 19, 22, 24.
a heathen priest of the Romans and Egyptians; the chief priest of the Romans was called
Pontifex Maximus, which was a title assumed by the Consuls and Emperors, v. yldest-bisceop
Show examples
  • Sǽdon ða Égyptiscan bisceopas, ðæt ða Godes wundor hiora ágnum godum getealde wǽron, ðæt sint deófol-gild

    the Egyptian priests said, that the godlike wonders were ascribed to their own gods, which are idols,

      Ors. 1, 5; Bos. 28, 25.
  • Bisceopas on Róme sǽdon, ðæt heora godas bǽdon ðæt him man worhte anfiteatra

    the priests in Rome said, that their gods ordered them to build an amphitheatre,

      Ors. 3, 3; Bos. 55, 26.
  • Lucinius Crassus, se consul, wæs eác Rómána yldesta bisceop

    Lucinius Crassus, the consul, was also the chief priest [pontifex maximus] of the Romans,

      Ors. 5, 4; Bos. 104, 16.
the rank of an Anglo-Saxon bishop was equal to that of the Ealdorman, or highest nobleman, being only inferior to the Æðeling or prince, for they had equal power as judges in civil courts of law,-and their burh-brice and wér-gyld
were the same
Show examples
  • Bisceope gebyreþ ǽlc rihting, ge on godcundan þingan ge on woruldcundan

    to a bishop belongs every direction [righting] both in divine and worldly things,

      L. I. P. 7; Th. ii. 312, 9.
  • Sculon bisceopas, mid woruld-déman, dómas dihtan ðæt hí ne geþafian, gyf his waldan magan, ðæt ǽnig unriht up-aspringe

    bishops, with temporal judges, should so direct judgments that they never permit, if it be in their power, that any injustice spring up,

      7; Th. ii. 312, 35-37.
  • And séce man hundred-gemót swá hit ǽr geset wæs; and hæbbe man þríwa on geáre burh-gemót; and túwa scír-gemót; and ðǽr beó on ðære scíre bisceop and se ealdorman, and ðǽr ǽgðer tǽcan ge Godes riht ge woruld-riht

    and let the hundred-moot be attended as it was before fixed; and thrice in the year let a city-moot be held; and twice a shire-moot; and let there be present the bishop of the shire and the ealdorman, and there each expound both God's law [right] and the world's law,

      L. Edg. ii. 5; Th. i. 268, 2-5: L. C. S. 18; Th. i. 386, 4-8.
  • Biscopes and ealdormannes burg-bryce biþ lx scillinga a bishop's and an ealdorman's burh-bryce shall be sixty shillings, L. Alf. pol. 40; Th. i. 88, 8, note 19, H. Biscopes and ealdormannes mund-brice gebéte mid ii pundum recompense a bishop's and an ealdorman's mund-brice

    with two pounds,

      L. Eth, vii. 11; Th. i. 332, 1.
  • Biscopes and ealdormannes wér-gyld is viii þúsend þrymsa a bishop's and an ealdorman's wer-gild

    is eight thousand thrymsas,

      L. Wg. 3; Th. i. 186, 7.
the bishops were the best educated men of their age, and often the most energetic, their advice and assistance were, therefore, naturally sought in every case of emergency in the cabinet or in the field,-Hence Ealhstan, the bishop of Sherborne for fifty years [Ealhstán hæfde ðæt biscopríce l wintra æt Scyreburnan, A. D. 817-867: Chr. 867; Ing. 98, 12-14],
became a general of Egbert and of his son Æthelwulf
Show examples
  • Ecgbryht, West-Seaxna cyning, sende Æðelwulf his sunu of ðære fyrde, and Ealhstán his bisceop, to Cent micele werede, and hý Baldréd ðone cyning norþ ofer Temese adryfon

    Egbert, king of the West-Saxons, sent his son Æthelwulf, and Ealhstan his bishop, into Kent, with a large part of the army,, and drove Baldred the king northward over the Thames,

      Chr. 823; Ing. 87, 6-15: 845; Ing. 92, 1.
  • Æt Mere-túne wearþ Heáhmund biscop ofslegen, and feala gódra monna

    at Merton bishop Heahmund was slain, and many good men,

      871; Ing. 101, 1-9.
[Orm. bisskopp, bisscopp, bisshopp: Laym. biscop, bissop: Wyc. bischop: O. Sax. biskop: Dut. bisschop: Ger. M. H. Ger. bischof: O. H. Ger. piscof: Goth. aipiskaupus: Dan. bisp: Swed. biskop: O. Nrs. biskup: Fr. évêque: Span. obispo: It. vescovo: Wel. esgob: Gael. easbuig: Ir. easbog: Arm. eskop: Slav. biskup: Lith. wyskupas. From the Lat. episcopus [e-piscop-us, hence O. H. Ger. piscof: A. Sax. biscop: Orm. bisshopp: Laym. biscop: Wyc. bischop: Eng. bishop] = Grk. έπίσκoπos an overseer, guardian, from έπί upon, over,-σκoπós one who watches,-σκoπέω to look, watch, consider, contemplate.]
Derived forms
DER. arce-bisceop, -biscop, ealdor-: bisceop-dóm, -gegyrelan, -hád, -hyrde, -líc, -ríce, -roc, -scír, -seld, -seðel, -setl, -stól, -þénung, -wíte, -wyrt: bisceopian.
Linked entries
v.  biscep biscop ealdor-biscop.
Full form


  • bisceop, n.