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    weasel (v.) — well-informed (adj.)

    weasel (v.)

    "to deprive (a word or phrase) of its meaning," 1900, from weasel (n.); so used because the weasel sucks out the contents of eggs, leaving the shell intact. Both this and weasel-word are first attested in "The Stained-Glass Political Platform," a short story by Stewart Chaplin, first printed in Century Magazine, June 1900:ETD weasel (v.).2

    They were picked up at once in American political slang. The sense of "extricate oneself (from a difficult place) like a weasel" is first recorded 1925; that of "to evade and equivocate" is from 1956. Related: Weasled; weasling.ETD weasel (v.).3

    weather (v.)

    "come through safely," 1650s, from weather (n.). The notion is of a ship riding out a storm. Sense of "wear away by exposure" is from 1757. Related: Weathered; weathering. Old English verb wederian meant "exhibit a change of weather."ETD weather (v.).2

    weatherize (v.)

    1946, from weather (n.) + -ize. Related: Weatherized; weatherizing.ETD weatherize (v.).2

    weather (n.)

    Old English weder "air, sky; breeze, storm, tempest," from Proto-Germanic *wedra- "wind, weather" (source also of Old Saxon wedar, Old Norse veðr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch weder, Old High German wetar, German Wetter "storm, wind, weather"), traditionally said to be from PIE *we-dhro-, "weather" (source also of Lithuanian vėtra "storm," Old Church Slavonic vedro "good weather"), suffixed form of root *we- "to blow." But Boutkan finds this "problematic from a formal point of view" and finds only the Slavic word a likely cognate.ETD weather (n.).2

    Alteration of -d- to -th- begins late 15c., though such pronunciation may be older (see father (n.)). In nautical use, as an adjective, "toward the wind" (opposed to lee).ETD weather (n.).3

    Greek had words for "good weather" (aithria, eudia) and words for "storm" and "winter," but no generic word for "weather" until kairos (literally "time") began to be used as such in Byzantine times. Latin tempestas "weather" (see tempest) also originally meant "time;" and words for "time" also came to mean weather in Irish (aimsir), Serbo-Croatian (vrijeme), Polish (czas), etc. Weather-report is from 1863. Weather-breeder "fine, serene day which precedes and seems to prepare a storm" is from 1650s.ETD weather (n.).4

    Surnames Fairweather, Merriweather probably reflect disposition; medieval lists and rolls also include Foulweder, Wetweder, Strangweder.ETD weather (n.).5

    weather-beaten (adj.)

    1520s, from weather (n.) + beaten.ETD weather-beaten (adj.).2

    weather-cast (n.)

    also weathercast, 1866, from weather (n.) + ending from forecast (n.).ETD weather-cast (n.).2

    weatherman (n.)

    "one who observes the weather," 1869, from weather (n.) + man (n.). Weather-prophet is from 1784 as "barometer;" 1827 as "person who predicts the weather."ETD weatherman (n.).2

    weather-vane (n.)

    also weathervane, mid-15c., wederfane; see weather (n.) + vane. Weathercock also is mid-15c. (wedurkoke).ETD weather-vane (n.).2

    weave (n.)

    1580s, "something woven," from weave (v.). Meaning "method or pattern of weaving" is from 1888.ETD weave (n.).2

    weave (v.2)

    c. 1200, "to move from one place to another," of uncertain origin, perhaps from weave (v.1). From early 14c. as "move to and fro;" 1590s as "move side to side." Use in boxing is from 1818. Related: Weaved; weaving.ETD weave (v.2).2

    weave (v.1)

    Old English wefan "to weave, form by interlacing yarn," figuratively "devise, contrive, arrange" (class V strong verb; past tense wæf, past participle wefen), from Proto-Germanic *weban (source also of Old Norse vefa, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch weven, Old High German weban, German weben "to weave"), from PIE root *(h)uebh- "to weave;" also "to move quickly" (source also of Sanskrit ubhnati "he laces together," Persian baftan "to weave," Greek hyphē, hyphos "web," Old English webb "web").ETD weave (v.1).2

    The form of the past tense altered in Middle English from wave to wove. Extended sense of "combine into a whole" is from late 14c.; meaning "go by twisting and turning" is from 1640s. Related: Wove; woven; weaving.ETD weave (v.1).3

    weaver (n.)

    mid-14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), agent noun from weave (v.). The weaver-bird (1826) so called from the ingenuity of its nests.ETD weaver (n.).2

    web (n.)

    Old English webb "woven fabric, woven work, tapestry," from Proto-Germanic *wabjam "fabric, web" (source also of Old Saxon webbi, Old Norse vefr, Dutch webbe, Old High German weppi, German gewebe "web"), from PIE *(h)uebh- "to weave" (see weave (v.)).ETD web (n.).2

    Meaning "spider's web" is first recorded early 13c. Applied to the membranes between the toes of ducks and other aquatic birds from 1570s. Internet sense is from 1992, shortened from World Wide Web (1990). Web browser, web page both also attested 1990.ETD web (n.).3

    webbed (adj.)

    1660s, from web.ETD webbed (adj.).2


    surname attested from 1255; literally "weaver" (see web).ETD Weber.2

    weblog (n.)

    by 1994; see blog.ETD weblog (n.).2

    webmaster (n.)

    1993, from web in the internet sense + master (n.).ETD webmaster (n.).2

    website (n.)

    also web site, 1994, from web in the internet sense + site.ETD website (n.).2

    webster (n.)

    "a weaver," Old English webbestre "a female weaver," from web (q.v.) + fem. suffix -ster. Noah Webster's dictionary, typically American and execrable for etymology, was first published 1828.ETD webster (n.).2

    wed (v.)

    Old English weddian "to pledge oneself, covenant to do something, vow; betroth, marry," also "unite (two other people) in a marriage, conduct the marriage ceremony," from Proto-Germanic *wadja (source also of Old Norse veðja, Danish vedde "to bet, wager," Old Frisian weddia "to promise," Gothic ga-wadjon "to betroth"), from PIE root *wadh- (1) "to pledge, to redeem a pledge" (source also of Latin vas, genitive vadis "bail, security," Lithuanian vaduoti "to redeem a pledge"), which is of uncertain origin.ETD wed (v.).2

    The sense has remained closer to "pledge" in other Germanic languages (such as German Wette "a bet, wager"); development to "marry" is unique to English. "Originally 'make a woman one's wife by giving a pledge or earnest money', then used of either party" [Buck]. Passively, of two people, "to be joined as husband and wife," from c. 1200. Related: Wedded; wedding.ETD wed (v.).3

    wedding (n.)

    Old English weddung "state of being wed; pledge, betrothal; action of marrying," verbal noun from wed (v.). Meaning "nuptials, ceremony of marriage" is recorded from early 13c.; the usual Old English word for the ceremony was bridelope, literally "bridal run," in reference to conducting the bride to her new home. Wedding ring is from late 14c.; wedding cake is recorded from 1640s, as a style of architecture from 1879. Wedding dress is attested from 1779; wedding reception from 1856.ETD wedding (n.).2

    *wed- (1)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "water; wet."ETD *wed- (1).2

    It forms all or part of: abound; anhydrous; carbohydrate; clepsydra; dropsy; hydra; hydrangea; hydrant; hydrargyrum; hydrate; hydraulic; hydro-; hydrogen; hydrophobia; hydrous; Hydrus; inundate; inundation; kirsch-wasser; nutria; otter; redound; redundant; surround; undine; undulant; undulate; undulation; vodka; wash; water (n.1); wet; whiskey; winter.ETD *wed- (1).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite watar, Sanskrit udrah, Greek hydor, Old Church Slavonic and Russian voda, Lithuanian vanduo, Old Prussian wundan, Gaelic uisge "water;" Latin unda "wave;" Old English wæter, Old High German wazzar, Gothic wato "water."ETD *wed- (1).4

    wedge (v.)

    early 15c., "jam in place with a wedge; tighten with a wedge," from wedge (n.). Figurative sense "drive or pack (into)" is from 1720. Meaning "split (something) apart with a wedge" attested by 1853. Related: Wedged; wedging.ETD wedge (v.).2

    wedge (n.)

    Old English wecg "a wedge," from Proto-Germanic *wagjaz (source also of Old Norse veggr, Middle Dutch wegge, Dutch wig, Old High German weggi "wedge," dialectal German Weck "wedge-shaped bread roll"), of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Latin vomer "plowshare." From 1610s in reference to other things shaped like a wedge. Of women's shoes or shoe-heels, from 1939. Wedge issue is attested from 1999.ETD wedge (n.).2

    wedgie (n.)

    1940, "wedge-heeled shoe," from wedge (n.) + -ie. The underwear prank so called by 1970s, from the effect it gives the victim.ETD wedgie (n.).2

    wedgwood (n.)

    type of English pottery, 1787, from Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), English potter.ETD wedgwood (n.).2

    wedlock (n.)

    Old English wedlac "pledge-giving, marriage vow," from wed + -lac, noun suffix meaning "actions or proceedings, practice," attested in about a dozen Old English compounds (feohtlac "warfare"), but this is the only surviving example. Suffix altered by folk etymology through association with lock (n.1). Meaning "condition of being married" is recorded from early 13c.ETD wedlock (n.).2

    Wednesday (n.)

    fourth day of the week, Old English wodnesdæg "Woden's day," a Germanic loan-translation of Latin dies Mercurii "day of Mercury" (compare Old Norse Oðinsdagr, Swedish Onsdag, Old Frisian Wonsdei, Middle Dutch Wudensdach). For Woden, see Odin.ETD Wednesday (n.).2

    Contracted pronunciation is recorded from 15c. The Odin-based name is missing in German (mittwoch, from Old High German mittwocha, literally "mid-week"), probably by influence of Gothic, which seems to have adopted a pure ecclesiastical (i.e. non-astrological) week from Greek missionaries. The Gothic model also seems to be the source of Polish środa, Russian sreda "Wednesday," literally "middle."ETD Wednesday (n.).3

    wee (adj.)

    "extremely small," mid-15c., from earlier noun use in sense of "quantity, amount" (such as a littel wei "a little thing or amount," c. 1300), from Old English wæge "weight, unit of weight," from Proto-Germanic *wego, from PIE root *wegh- "to go, move, transport in a vehicle." The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of "measure the weight of" (compare weigh, from the same source).ETD wee (adj.).2

    Adjectival use wee bit apparently developed as parallel to such forms as a bit thing "a little thing." Wee hours "hours after midnight" is attested by 1891, from Scottish phrase wee sma' hours (1819); so called for their low numbers. Wee folk "faeries" is recorded from 1819. Weeny "tiny, small" is from 1790.ETD wee (adj.).3

    weed (n.)

    "plant not valued for use or beauty," Old English weod, uueod "grass, herb, weed," from Proto-Germanic *weud- (source also of Old Saxon wiod, East Frisian wiud), of unknown origin. Also applied to trees that grow abundantly. Meaning "tobacco" is from c. 1600; that of "marijuana" is from 1920s. The chemical weed-killer is attested by 1885.ETD weed (n.).2

    weeds (n.)

    "garments" (now surviving, if at all, in widow's weeds), plural of archaic weed, from Old English wæd, wæde "robe, dress, apparel, garment, clothing," from Proto-Germanic *wedo (source also of Old Saxon wadi, Old Frisian wede "garment," Old Norse vað "cloth, texture," Old High German wat "garment"), probably from PIE *wedh-, extended form of root *au- (3) "to weave." Archaic since early 19c.ETD weeds (n.).2

    weed (v.)

    "to clear the ground of weeds," late Old English weodian "to weed," from the source of weed (n.). Figurative use by c. 1400. Related: Weeded; weeding; weeder.ETD weed (v.).2

    weedy (adj.)

    early 15c., from weed + -y (2). In old slang, in reference to horses, "not of good blood or strength, scraggy, worthless for breeding or racing," from 1800; hence, of persons, "thin and weakly" (1852).ETD weedy (adj.).2

    week (n.)

    Old English wucu, wice, etc., from Proto-Germanic *wikō(n)- (source also of Old Norse vika, Old Frisian wike, Middle Dutch weke, Old High German wecha, German woche), probably originally with the sense of "a turning" or "succession" (compare Gothic wikon "in the course of," Old Norse vika "sea-mile," originally "change of oar," Old English wican "yield, give way"), from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind." The vowel sound seems to have been uncertain in Old and Middle English and -e-, -i-, -o-, -u-, -y-, and various diphthongs are attested for it.ETD week (n.).2

    "Meaning primarily 'change, alteration,' the word may once have denoted some earlier time division, such as the 'change of moon, half month,' ... but there is no positive evidence of this" [Buck]. There also is no evidence of a native Germanic week before contact with the Romans. The seven-day week is ancient, probably originating from the 28-day lunar cycle, divisible into four periods of seven days, at the end of each of which the moon enters a new phase. This would have been reinforced during the spread of Christianity by the ancient Jewish seven-day week.ETD week (n.).3

    As a Roman astrological convention it was borrowed by other European peoples; the Germanic tribes substituting their own deities for those of the Romans, without regard to planets. The Coligny calendar suggests a Celtic division of the month into halves; the regular Greek division of the month was into three decades; and the Romans also had a market week of nine days. Phrase a week, as in eight days a week recorded by 1540s; see a- (1).ETD week (n.).4

    weekday (n.)

    Old English wicudæge, wucudæge "day of the week" (similar formation in Old High German wehhatag, Old Norse vikudagr). See week + day. In Middle English, any day other than Sunday.ETD weekday (n.).2

    weekend (n.)

    also week-end, 1630s, from week + end (n.). Originally a northern word (referring to the period from Saturday noon to Monday morning); it became general after 1878. As an adjective, "only on weekends," it is recorded from 1935. Long weekend attested from 1900; in reference to Great Britain in the period between the world wars, 1944.ETD weekend (n.).2


    mid-15c. (adv.); late 15c. (adj.), from week + -ly (2). As a noun meaning "weekly newspaper" it is recorded from 1833.ETD weekly.2

    weel (n.)

    "deep pool," Old English wæl "whirlpool, eddy; pool; sea," cognate with West Frisian wiel, Old Low Frankish wal, Middle Dutch wael, German wehl, wehle.ETD weel (n.).2

    ween (v.)

    "be of the opinion, have the notion" (archaic), Old English wenan "to fancy, imagine, believe; expect, hope," from Proto-Germanic *wenjan "to hope" (source also of Old Saxon wanian, Old Norse væna, Old Frisian wena, Old High German wanen, German wähnen, Gothic wenjan "to expect, suppose, think"), from *woeniz "expectation," from PIE root *wen- (1) "to desire, strive for." Archaic since 17c.ETD ween (v.).2

    weenie (n.)

    "frankfurter," 1906, with slang sense of "penis" following soon after, from German wienerwurst "Vienna sausage" (see wiener). Meaning "ineffectual person, effeminate young man" is slang from 1963; pejorative sense via penis shape, or perhaps from weenie in the sense of "small" (see wee).ETD weenie (n.).2

    weeping (adj.)

    late Old English, present-participle adjective from weep (v.). Used of various trees whose branches arch downward and suggest drooping, such as weeping elm (c. 1600); weeping cherry (1824). Weeping willow (French saule pleureur, German trauerweide) is recorded from 1731. The tree is native to Asia; the first brought to England were imported 1748, from the Euphrates. It replaced the cypress as a funerary emblem.ETD weeping (adj.).2

    weep (v.)

    Old English wepan "shed tears, cry; bewail, mourn over; complain" (class VII strong verb; past tense weop, past participle wopen), from Proto-Germanic *wopjan (source also of Old Norse op, Old High German wuof "shout, shouting, crying," Old Saxon wopian, Gothic wopjan "to shout, cry out, weep"), from PIE *wab- "to cry, scream" (source also of Latin vapulare "to be flogged;" Old Church Slavonic vupiti "to call," vypu "gull"). Of water naturally forming on stones, walls, etc., from c. 1400. Related: Wept; weeping; weeper.ETD weep (v.).2

    weepy (adj.)

    1825, from weep + -y (2). Related: Weepily; weepiness. Weepie (n.) "sentimental film" is from 1928.ETD weepy (adj.).2

    weet (v.)

    "to know" (archaic), 1540s, from Middle English weten, variant of witen "to know" (see wit (v.)).ETD weet (v.).2

    weevil (n.)

    Old English wifel "small beetle," from Proto-Germanic *webilaz (source also of Old Saxon wibil, Old High German wibil, German Wiebel "beetle, chafer," Old Norse tordyfill "dung beetle"), cognate with Lithuanian vabalas "beetle," from PIE root *(h)uebh- "to weave," also "to move quickly" (see weave (v.)). The sense gradually narrowed by 15c. to a particular kind of beetle that, in larval or adult stages, bores into plants, often destroying them.ETD weevil (n.).2

    weft (n.)

    "threads which run across the web from side to side," Old English weft, wefta "weft," related to wefan "to weave," from Proto-Germanic *weftaz (see weave (v.)).ETD weft (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be strong, be lively."ETD *weg-.2

    It forms all or part of: awake; bewitch; bivouac; invigilate; reveille; surveillance; vedette; vegetable; velocity; vigil; vigilant; vigilante; vigor; waft; wait; wake (v.) "emerge or arise from sleep;" waken; watch; Wicca; wicked; witch.ETD *weg-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vajah "force, strength," vajayati "drives on;" Latin vigil "watchful, awake," vigere "be lively, thrive," velox "fast, lively," vegere "to enliven," vigor "liveliness, activity;" Old English wacan "to become awake," German wachen "to be awake," Gothic wakan "to watch."ETD *weg-.4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to go, move, transport in a vehicle."ETD *wegh-.2

    It forms all or part of: always; away; convection; convey; convex; convoy; deviate; devious; envoy; evection; earwig; foy; graywacke; impervious; invective; inveigh; invoice; Norway; obviate; obvious; ochlocracy; ogee; pervious; previous; provection; quadrivium; thalweg; trivia; trivial; trivium; vector; vehemence; vehement; vehicle; vex; via; viaduct; viatic; viaticum; vogue; voyage; wacke; wag; waggish; wagon; wain; wall-eyed; wave (n.); way; wee; weigh; weight; wey; wiggle.ETD *wegh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vahati "carries, conveys," vahitram, vahanam "vessel, ship;" Avestan vazaiti "he leads, draws;" Greek okhos "carriage, chariot;" Latin vehere "to carry, convey," vehiculum "carriage, chariot;" Old Church Slavonic vesti "to carry, convey," vozŭ "carriage, chariot;" Russian povozka "small sled;" Lithuanian vežu, vežti "to carry, convey," važis "a small sled;" Old Irish fecht "campaign, journey," fen "carriage, cart;" Welsh gwain "carriage, cart;" Old English wegan "to carry;" Old Norse vegr, Old High German weg "way;" Middle Dutch wagen "wagon."ETD *wegh-.4

    wegotism (n.)

    1797, from we + egotism; "an obtrusive and too frequent use of the first person plural by a speaker or writer" [OED].ETD wegotism (n.).2

    Wehrmacht (n.)

    "the armed forces of Germany," 1935, from German Wehrmacht (name of the armed forces 1921-1945), from Wehr "defense" (from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover") + Macht "might" (from PIE root *magh- "to be able, have power").ETD Wehrmacht (n.).2

    wey (n.)

    dry goods weight of fixed amount (but varying over time and place), Old English weg "scales, balance, weight" (see weigh).ETD wey (n.).2


    also weiə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to turn, twist, bend," with derivatives referring to suppleness or binding.ETD *wei-.2

    It forms all or part of: ferrule; garland; iridescence; iridescent; iris; iridium; vise; viticulture; wire; withe; withy.ETD *wei-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Avestan vaeiti- "osier;" Greek itea "willow," iris "rainbow;" Latin viere "to bend, twist," vitis "vine;" Lithuanian vytis "willow twig;" Old Irish fiar, Welsh gwyr "bent, crooked;" Polish witwa, Welsh gwden "willow," Russian vitvina "branch, bough;" Old English wir "metal drawn out into a fine thread."ETD *wei-.4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to see."ETD *weid-.2

    It forms all or part of: advice; advise; belvedere; clairvoyant; deja vu; Druid; eidetic; eidolon; envy; evident; guide; guidon; guise; guy (n.1) "small rope, chain, wire;" Gwendolyn; Hades; history; idea; ideo-; idol; idyll; improvisation; improvise; interview; invidious; kaleidoscope; -oid; penguin; polyhistor; prevision; provide; providence; prudent; purvey; purview; review; revise; Rig Veda; story (n.1) "connected account or narration of some happening;" supervise; survey; twit; unwitting; Veda; vide; view; visa; visage; vision; visit; visor; vista; voyeur; wise (adj.) "learned, sagacious, cunning;" wise (n.) "way of proceeding, manner;" wisdom; wiseacre; wit (n.) "mental capacity;" wit (v.) "to know;" witenagemot; witting; wot.ETD *weid-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit veda "I know;" Avestan vaeda "I know;" Greek oida, Doric woida "I know," idein "to see;" Old Irish fis "vision," find "white," i.e. "clearly seen," fiuss "knowledge;" Welsh gwyn, Gaulish vindos, Breton gwenn "white;" Gothic, Old Swedish, Old English witan "to know;" Gothic weitan "to see;" English wise, German wissen "to know;" Lithuanian vysti "to see;" Bulgarian vidya "I see;" Polish widzieć "to see," wiedzieć "to know;" Russian videt' "to see," vest' "news," Old Russian vedat' "to know."ETD *weid-.4

    Weigela (n.)

    shrub genus, 1846, from the name of German physician and botanist C.E. Weigel (1748-1831).ETD Weigela (n.).2

    weigh (v.)

    Old English wegan (class V strong verb, past tense wæg, past participle wægon) "find the weight of, measure; have weight; lift, carry, support, sustain, bear; move," from Proto-Germanic *wegan (source also of Old Saxon wegan, Old Frisian wega, Dutch wegen "to weigh;" Old Norse vega, Old High German wegan "to move, carry, weigh;" German wiegen "to weigh," bewegen "to move, stir"), from PIE root *wegh- "to go, move, transport in a vehicle."ETD weigh (v.).2

    The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of "measure the weight of." The older sense of "lift, carry" survives in the nautical phrase weigh anchor. Figurative sense of "to consider, ponder" (in reference to words, etc.) is recorded from mid-14c. To weigh in in the literal sense is from 1868, originally of jockeys; figurative meaning "bring one's influence to bear" is from 1909.ETD weigh (v.).3

    weight (n.)

    Old English gewiht "weighing, weight, downward force of a body, heaviness," from Proto-Germanic *wihti- (source also of Old Norse vætt, Danish vegt, Old Frisian wicht, Middle Dutch gewicht, German Gewicht), from *weg- (see weigh).ETD weight (n.).2

    Figurative sense of "burden" is late 14c. To lose weight "get thinner" is recorded from 1961. Weight Watcher as a trademark name dates from 1960. To pull one's weight (1921) is from rowing. To throw (one's) weight around figuratively is by 1922. Weight-training is from 1945. Weight-lifting is from 1885; weight-lifter (human) from 1893.ETD weight (n.).3

    weight (v.)

    "to load with weight," 1747 (figuratively, of the mind, from 1640s), from weight (n.). Of horses in a handicap race, 1846. Sense in statistics is recorded from 1901. Related: Weighted; weighting.ETD weight (v.).2

    weightage (n.)

    1893, from weight (n.) + -age.ETD weightage (n.).2

    weighty (adj.)

    late 14c., "heavy;" late 15c., "important, serious, grave;" from weight (n.) + -y (2). Related: Weightiness.ETD weighty (adj.).2

    weightless (adj.)

    "having no weight," 1540s, from weight (n.) + -less. Related: Weightlessly; weightlessness (1867).ETD weightless (adj.).2

    *weik- (3)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to fight, conquer."ETD *weik- (3).2

    It forms all or part of: convict; convince; evict; evince; invictus; invincible; Ordovician; province; vanquish; victor; victory; Vincent; vincible.ETD *weik- (3).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin victor "a conqueror," vincere "to conquer, overcome, defeat;" Lithuanian apveikiu, apveikti "to subdue, overcome;" Old Church Slavonic veku "strength, power, age;" Old Norse vigr "able in battle," Old English wigan "fight;" Welsh gwych "brave, energetic," Old Irish fichim "I fight," second element in Celtic Ordovices "those who fight with hammers."ETD *weik- (3).4

    *weik- (1)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "clan, social unit above the household."ETD *weik- (1).2

    It forms all or part of: antoecian; bailiwick; Brunswick; diocese; ecology; economy; ecumenical; metic; nasty; parish; parochial; vicinage; vicinity; viking; villa; village; villain; villanelle; -ville; villein; Warwickshire; wick (n.2) "dairy farm."ETD *weik- (1).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit visah "house," vit "dwelling, house, settlement;" Avestan vis "house, village, clan;" Old Persian vitham "house, royal house;" Greek oikos "house;" Latin villa "country house, farm," vicus "village, group of houses;" Lithuanian viešpats "master of the house;" Old Church Slavonic visi "village;" Gothic weihs "village."ETD *weik- (1).4

    *weik- (2)

    also *weig-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to bend, to wind."ETD *weik- (2).2

    It forms all or part of: vetch; vicar; vicarious; vice- "deputy, assistant, substitute;" viceregent; vice versa; vicissitude; weak; weakfish; week; wicker; wicket; witch hazel; wych.ETD *weik- (2).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit visti "changing, changeable;" Old English wac "weak, pliant, soft," wician "to give way, yield," wice "wych elm," Old Norse vikja "to bend, turn," Swedish viker "willow twig, wand," German wechsel "change."ETD *weik- (2).4

    Weimar (adj.)

    in reference to the pre-1933 democratic government of Germany, 1932, from name of city in Thuringia where German constitution was drawn up in 1919. The place name is a compound of Old High German wih "holy" + mari "lake" (see mere (n.1)).ETD Weimar (adj.).2

    Weimaraner (n.)

    dog breed, 1943, from Weimar, german city, + German suffix -aner indicating "of this place." Originally bred as a hunting dog in the Weimar region.ETD Weimaraner (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to turn, vacillate, tremble ecstatically."ETD *weip-.2

    It forms all or part of: gimlet; gimp (n.2) "ornamental trimming material;" vibrant; vibrate; vibration; vibrato; vibrissa; waif; waive; waiver; whip; wimple; wipe.ETD *weip-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin vibrare "set in tremulous motion, move quickly to and fro, quiver, tremble, shake," Lithuanian vyburti "to wag" (the tail), Danish vippe, Dutch wippen "to swing," Old English wipan "to wipe."ETD *weip-.4

    weir (n.)

    Old English wer "dam, fence, enclosure," especially one for catching fish (related to werian "dam up"), from Proto-Germanic *wer-jon- (source also of Old Norse ver, Old Frisian and Middle Dutch were, Dutch weer, Old High German wari, German Wehr "defense, protection," Gothic warjan "to defend, protect"), from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover."ETD weir (n.).2

    weird (adj.)

    c. 1400, "having power to control fate," from wierd (n.), from Old English wyrd "fate, chance, fortune; destiny; the Fates," literally "that which comes," from Proto-Germanic *wurthiz (source also of Old Saxon wurd, Old High German wurt "fate," Old Norse urðr "fate, one of the three Norns"), from PIE *wert- "to turn, to wind," (source also of German werden, Old English weorðan "to become"), from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend." For the sense development from "turning" to "becoming," compare phrase turn into "become."ETD weird (adj.).2

    The sense of "uncanny, supernatural" developed from Middle English use of weird sisters for the three Fates or Norns (in Germanic mythology), the goddesses who controlled human destiny. They were portrayed as odd or frightening in appearance, as in "Macbeth" (and especially in 18th and 19th century productions of it), which led to the adjectival meaning "odd-looking, uncanny" (1815); "odd, strange, disturbingly different" (1820). Also see Macbeth. Related: Weirdly; weirdness.ETD weird (adj.).3

    weirdo (n.)

    "strange person," 1955, from weird. Compare earlier Scottish weirdie "young man with long hair and a beard" (1894).ETD weirdo (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to speak."ETD *wekw-.2

    It forms all or part of: advocate; avocation; calliope; convocation; epic; equivocal; equivocation; evoke; invoke; provoke; revoke; univocal; vocabulary; vocal; vocation; vocative; vociferate; vociferous; voice; vouch; vox; vowel.ETD *wekw-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vakti "speaks, says," vacas- "word;" Avestan vac- "speak, say;" Greek eipon (aorist) "spoke, said," epos "word;" Latin vocare "to call," vox "voice, sound, utterance, language, word;" Old Prussian wackis "cry;" German er-wähnen "to mention."ETD *wekw-.4

    *wel- (3)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to turn, revolve," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects.ETD *wel- (3).2

    It forms all or part of: archivolt; circumvolve; convoluted; convolution; devolve; elytra; evolution; evolve; Helicon; helicopter; helix; helminth; lorimer; ileus; involve; revolt; revolution; revolve; valve; vault (v.1) "jump or leap over;" vault (n.1) "arched roof or ceiling;" volte-face; voluble; volume; voluminous; volute; volvox; volvulus; vulva; wale; walk; wallet; wallow; waltz; well (v.) "to spring, rise, gush;" welter; whelk; willow.ETD *wel- (3).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit valate "turns round," ulvam "womb, vulva;" Lithuanian valtis "twine, net," vilnis "wave," apvalus "round;" Old Church Slavonic valiti "roll, welter," vlŭna "wave;" Greek eluein "to roll round, wind, enwrap," eilein "twist, turn, squeeze; revolve, rotate," helix "spiral object;" Latin volvere "to turn, twist;" Gothic walwjan "to roll;" Old English wealwian "roll," weoloc "whelk, spiral-shelled mollusk;" Old High German walzan "to roll, waltz;" Old Irish fulumain "rolling;" Welsh olwyn "wheel."ETD *wel- (3).4

    welch (v.)

    1857, racing slang, "to refuse or avoid payment of money laid as a bet," probably a disparaging use of the national name Welsh. Related: Welched; welching.ETD welch (v.).2

    welcome (n.)

    Old English wilcuma "welcome!" exclamation of kindly greeting, from earlier wilcuma (n.) "welcome guest," literally "one whose coming suits another's will or wish," from willa "pleasure, desire, choice" (see will (n.)) + cuma "guest," related to cuman "to come," from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come." Similar formation in Old High German willicomo, Middle Dutch wellecome.ETD welcome (n.).2

    Meaning "entertainment or public reception as a greeting" is recorded from 1530. The adjective is from Old English wilcuma. You're welcome as a formulaic response to thank you is attested from 1907. Welcome mat is from 1908; welcome wagon is attested from 1940.ETD welcome (n.).3

    welcome (v.)

    Old English wilcumian "to welcome, greet gladly," from wilcuma (see welcome (n.)). Related: Welcomed; welcoming.ETD welcome (v.).2

    weld (n.2)

    "joint formed by welding," 1831, from weld (v.).ETD weld (n.2).2

    weld (v.)

    1590s, "unite or consolidate by hammering or compression, often after softening by heating," alteration of well (v.) "to boil, rise;" influenced by past participle form welled. Related: Welded; welding.ETD weld (v.).2

    weld (n.1)

    plant (Resedo luteola) producing yellow dye, late 14c., from Old English *wealde, perhaps a variant of Old English wald "forest" (see wold). Spanish gualda, French gaude are Germanic loan-words.ETD weld (n.1).2

    welder (n.)

    1828, agent noun from weld (v.).ETD welder (n.).2

    welfare (n.)

    c. 1300, from Old English wel faran "condition of being or doing well," from wel (see well (adv.)) + faran "get along" (see fare (v.)). Similar formation in Old Norse velferð. Meaning "social concern for the well-being of children, the unemployed, etc." is first attested 1904; meaning "organized effort to provide for maintenance of members of a group" is from 1918. Welfare state is recorded from 1941.ETD welfare (n.).2

    welkin (n.)

    "sky" (poetic), Old English wolcen "cloud," also "sky, heavens," from Proto-Germanic *wulk- (source also of Old Saxon wolkan, Old Frisian wolken, Middle Dutch wolke, Dutch wolk, Old High German wolka, German Wolke "cloud"), perhaps from PIE *welg- "wet" (source also of Lithuanian vilgyti "to moisten," Old Church Slavonic vlaga "moisture," Czech vlhky "damp"); but Boutkan rejects this and finds no good IE etymology.ETD welkin (n.).2

    well (adv.)

    "in a satisfactory manner," Old English wel "abundantly, very, very much; indeed, to be sure; with good reason; nearly, for the most part," from Proto-Germanic *wel- (source also of Old Saxon wela, Old Norse vel, Old Frisian wel, Dutch wel, Old High German wela, German wohl, Gothic waila "well"), from PIE root *wel- (2) "to wish, will" (source also of Sanskrit prati varam "at will," Old Church Slavonic vole "well," Welsh gwell "better," Latin velle "to wish, will," Old English willan "to wish;" see will (v.)).ETD well (adv.).2

    Also used in Old English as an interjection and an expression of surprise. The adjective was in Old English in the sense "in good fortune, happy," from the adverb; sense of "satisfactory" is from late 14c.; "agreeable to wish or desire" is from mid-15c.; "in good health, not ailing" is from 1550s. Well-to-do "prosperous" is recorded by 1794.ETD well (adv.).3

    well (n.)

    "hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian) "spring of water, fountain," from wiellan (see well (v.)). "As soon as a spring begins to be utilized as a source of water-supply it is more or less thoroughly transformed into a well" [Century Dictionary]. Figurative sense of "source from which anything is drawn" was in Old English.ETD well (n.).2

    well (v.)

    "to spring, rise, gush," Old English wiellan (Anglian wællan), causative of weallan "to boil, bubble up, rise (in reference to a river)" (class VII strong verb; past tense weoll, past participle weallen), from Proto-Germanic *wellanan "to roll" (source also of Old Saxon wallan, Old Norse vella, Old Frisian walla, Old High German wallan, German wallen, Gothic wulan "to bubble, boil"), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve," on notion of "roiling or bubbling water."ETD well (v.).2

    wellness (n.)

    1650s, from well (adv.) + -ness.ETD wellness (n.).2

    well-acquainted (adj.)

    1728, "having good acquaintance with," from well (adv.) + acquainted.ETD well-acquainted (adj.).2

    well-adjusted (adj.)

    1735, in reference to mechanisms, etc., from well (adv.) + past participle of adjust (v.). In reference to emotional balance, recorded from 1959.ETD well-adjusted (adj.).2


    mid-13c., alteration (by influence of Scandinavian forms) of Old English wa la wa, literally "woe, lo, woe!" from wa "woe" (see woe).ETD wellaway.2

    well-being (n.)

    1610s, from well (adv.) + gerundive of be.ETD well-being (n.).2

    well-balanced (adj.)

    1620s, from well (adv.) + past participle of balance (v.).ETD well-balanced (adj.).2

    well-behaved (adj.)

    1590s, from well (adv.) + past participle of behave (v.).ETD well-behaved (adj.).2

    well-beloved (adj.)

    late 14c., from well (adv.) + beloved.ETD well-beloved (adj.).2

    well-born (adj.)

    Old English welboren; see well (adv.) + born.ETD well-born (adj.).2

    well-bred (adj.)

    1590s, from well (adv.) + bred.ETD well-bred (adj.).2

    well-done (adj.)

    c. 1200, "wise, prudent," from well (adv.) + done. Meaning "thoroughly cooked," in reference to meat, is attested from 1747. Well done! as an exclamation of approval is recorded from mid-15c.ETD well-done (adj.).2

    well-earned (adj.)

    1730, from well (adv.) + past participle of earn (v.).ETD well-earned (adj.).2

    well-endowed (adj.)

    1680s, "with ample material endowments," from well (adv.) + past participle of endow (v.). Sexual sense is attested from 1951. A Middle English term for "naturally well-endowed" was furnished in nature.ETD well-endowed (adj.).2

    well-fed (adj.)

    mid-14c., from well (adv.) + past participle of feed (v.).ETD well-fed (adj.).2

    well-founded (adj.)

    late 14c., from well (adv.) + past participle of found (v.1).ETD well-founded (adj.).2

    well-heeled (adj.)

    "well-off, having much money, in good circumstances;" also "well-equipped," 1872, American English slang (originally in the "money" sense), from well (adv.) + colloquial sense of heeled. "[A]pplied to a player at cards who has a good hand, to a person who possesses plenty of money, or to a man who is well armed" [Century Dictionary]. From 1817 in a literal sense, in reference to shoes.ETD well-heeled (adj.).2

    well-hung (adj.)

    1610s, in male genital sense, from well (adv.) + hung (adj.).ETD well-hung (adj.).2

    well-informed (adj.)

    mid-15c., from well (adv.) + past participle of inform (v.).ETD well-informed (adj.).2

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