- Old English was the language used by Anglo-Saxtons from around 450 to 1150 that used many German words, was formal and was very different from modern English.
The language that the book Beowulf is written in is an example of Old English.
Old English definition by Webster's New World
- the Low German language of the Anglo-Saxons, comprising West Saxon, the major literary dialect, and the Kentish, Northumbrian, and Mercian dialects: it was spoken in England from c. 450 to c. 1100
- black letter
Old English definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The English language from the middle of the 5th to the beginning of the 12th century. Also called Anglo-Saxon.
- Printing See black letter.
Old English - Cultural Definition
The English language from the fifth century until about 1150. In the fifth century, the Angles and Saxons of Germany settled in Britain and established their language in the southern part of the island — the region that was called “Angle-land,” or “England.” After 1150, the Norman French language introduced after the Norman Conquest influenced Old English, and Middle English developed.
- Old English resembles the language spoken in Germany in the same period and is impossible for a present-day user of English to read without training. Beowulf is written in Old English.