Posting for someone else:

Rashi occasionally provides Old French words in his commentary to help understand certain terms or concepts. Who is the earliest author to have done the same with (Old) English words (if anyone has)? Did any of the English Tosafists do this? (Note: I don't consider an early English translation of the Torah to be an answer to this question).

  • tablet.otzar.org/book/book.php?book=147543&pagenum=16 list of laaz in tosafos
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 1:13
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    @Dr.Shmuel This link looks like it contains a number of potential answers. Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 1:48
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    My impression was that the Jewish population in England at the time were culturally French. E.g. a Gett given in London back then said "Londres." So I wouldn't expect to see Old English, just Old French.
    – Shalom
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 2:20
  • Was English language spoken at the time of Tosfot or vernacular language?
    – kouty
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 6:35
  • A rebbe in telz showed me a rashi that said cucumber in 8th grade. Don't remember where tho.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


For example the Mishna on Megilla 17a בסם is translated as מין קולורא. Sounds like color.

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    This belongs in the comment section.
    – N.T.
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 1:45
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    Folks I'm quoting the english tosafists they also said grape and ember
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 1:50
  • @Dr.Shmuel Got it, thanks! But maybe make that clearer in the answer... Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 2:03
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    The English word derives from French, so how do you know this is English and not French? Same with grape.
    – magicker72
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 2:15
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    The English Tosafists probably spoke some version of French, especially since they were very connected to the French Jewish community and French was a major spoken language in southern England at the time.
    – magicker72
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 2:17

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