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altered for the sake of euphony, or to suit the idiom of
other dialects, and has been more or less connected with
other words, making a union of both definitions : as, Ethel-
red, or Reed the Good ; Conrad, or Reed the Powerful ;
Eldred, or Reed the Elder ; Remus, belonging to the State ;
and Regina, Queen.
Among the class of words belonging to this stock, in
addition to those already mentioned, are Wraid,' Rade,
Gerard, Gerarden, Rath, regium, reign, regent, regalia,
reason, rhetoric; and also the compound of other words,
as Erythrasan, Tyrrhenian, Reate, Rages (now called Rei),
Regia, Rhenus, Rhedarian, Rheidlingine, Reedel (or Riddle),
Redesdale, Dalraid, Dalreda, and many others.
At a later period, the word became more extended in its
signification, and implied counsel, advice, wisdom, &c.
Still later, it meant one who could read, or the act of read-
ing ; as so few understood the art of reading, that one
Bible was sufficient for a parish ; and, the holy book being
chained to the desk, a person would be employed to read
as a clerk. This last expression gave rise to the word
" clergy," or " clergyman ; " meaning one who can read.
The art of reading was considered so beneficial to the
public, that all who understood it were entitled to the bene-
fit of clergy ; which phrase meant boring in the hand, or
other corporeal punishment, for crimes committed, instead
of death.
The following is the definition given by Noah Webster : —
" Sax. reed, rad, red, speech, discourse, counsel, advice, knowledge,
benefit, reason ; rcedan, redan, to read, to decree, to appoint, to command,
to rule or govern, to conjecture, to give or take counsel ; arcedan, to
read, to tell, to narrate; geraedan, to read, to consult; gerad, mode, con-
dition or state, reason, ratio or account, knowledge, instruction or learn-
ing, and, as an adjective or participle, knowing, instructed, ready, suited ;
gerad beon, to be ready, to accord or agree ; geradod, excited, quick.
These significations unite this word with ready ; which see. Ger. rede,

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