i-mutation matters!



Modern English Word Pairs showing the effects of i-mutation


Nouns with mutated plurals:


foot — feet

mouse — mice

louse — lice

tooth — teeth

man — men



Noun > Verb:


tale — to tell

food — to feed

knot — to knit

lust — to list (“do as you list”)

blood — to bleed

doom ('judgment') — to deem (to judge)

gold — to gild


Verb > (a different) Verb:


fall — fell

dole —  deal

wander — wend

sit — set

lie — lay


Adjective > Verb:


full — to fill

whole — to heal


Adjective > Noun


strong — strength

long — length

straight — stretch

foul — filth


Mutations in other forms of a word:

fox — vixen

old — elder eldest




OLD ENGISH examples of i-mutation


Nouns with mutated plurals:


boc — bec (“books”)

freond — friend (“friends”)


Nouns with mutated dative only:

brother — brether

moder — meder

dohter — dehter


Verbs with unmutated past tense (mutated present):

(modern English given)


bought — buy

sought — seek



EARLY LATIN LOANS showing i-mutation


L unica > OE ynce (“inch”)

L strata > OE stae:t (“street”)

L puteus > OE pytt (“pit”)