1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mead

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MEAD. (1) A word now only used more or less poetically for the commoner form “meadow,” properly land laid down for grass and cut for hay, but often extended in meaning to include pasture-land. “Meadow” represents the oblique case, maédwe, of O. Eng. maéd, which comes from the root seen in “mow”; the word, therefore, means “mowed land.” Cognate words appear in other Teutonic languages, a familiar instance being Ger. matt, seen in place-names such as Zermatt, Andermatt, &c. (See Grass.) (2) The name of a drink made by the fermentation of honey mixed with water. Alcoholic drinks made from honey were common in ancient times, and during the middle ages throughout Europe. The Greeks and Romans knew of such under the names of ὁδρόμελι and hydromel; mulsum was a form of mead with the addition of wine. The word is common to Teutonic languages (cf. Du. mede, Ger. Met or Meth), and is cognate with Gr. μέθυ, wine, and Sansk. mádhu, sweet drink. “Metheglin,” another word for mead, properly a medicated or spiced form of the drink, is an adaptation of the Welsh meddyglyn, which is derived from meddyg, healing (Lat. medicus) and llyn, liquor. It therefore means “spiced or medicated drink,” and is not etymologically connected with “mead.”