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    willful (adj.) — Wisconsin

    willful (adj.)

    also wilful, c. 1200, "strong-willed," usually in a bad sense, "obstinate, unreasonable," from will (n.) + -ful. From late 14c. as "eager" (to do something). Mid-14c., of actions, "done on purpose, intentional, due to one's own will." Related: Willfullness.ETD willful (adj.).2

    will (v.2)

    Old English willian "to determine by act of choice," from will (n.). From mid-15c. as "dispose of by will or testament." Often difficult to distinguish from will (v.1).ETD will (v.2).2

    will (n.)

    Old English will, willa "mind, determination, purpose; desire, wish, request; joy, delight," from Proto-Germanic *wiljon- (source also of Old Saxon willio, Old Norse vili, Old Frisian willa, Dutch wil, Old High German willio, German Wille, Gothic wilja "will"), related to *willan "to wish" (see will (v.1)). The meaning "written document expressing a person's wishes about disposition of property after death" is first recorded late 14c.ETD will (n.).2

    willing (adj.)

    early 14c., present-participle adjective from will (v.1). Old English had -willendliche in compounds. Related: Willingly; willingness.ETD willing (adj.).2

    will (v.1)

    Old English *willan, wyllan "to wish, desire; be willing; be used to; be about to" (past tense wolde), from Proto-Germanic *willjan (source also of Old Saxon willian, Old Norse vilja, Old Frisian willa, Dutch willen, Old High German wellan, German wollen, Gothic wiljan "to will, wish, desire," Gothic waljan "to choose").ETD will (v.1).2

    The Germanic words are from PIE root *wel- (2) "to wish, will" (source also of Sanskrit vrnoti "chooses, prefers," varyah "to be chosen, eligible, excellent," varanam "choosing;" Avestan verenav- "to wish, will, choose;" Greek elpis "hope;" Latin volo, velle "to wish, will, desire;" Old Church Slavonic voljo, voliti "to will," veljo, veleti "to command;" Lithuanian velyti "to wish, favor," pa-velmi "I will," viliuos "I hope;" Welsh gwell "better").ETD will (v.1).3

    Compare also Old English wel "well," literally "according to one's wish;" wela "well-being, riches." The use as a future auxiliary was already developing in Old English. The implication of intention or volition distinguishes it from shall, which expresses or implies obligation or necessity. Contracted forms, especially after pronouns, began to appear 16c., as in sheele for "she will." In early use often -ile to preserve pronunciation. The form with an apostrophe ('ll) is from 17c.ETD will (v.1).4

    willfully (adv.)

    also wilfully, late Old English wilfullice "of one's own free will, voluntarily;" see willful + -ly (2). Mid-14c. as "deliberately, knowingly." Bad sense of "on purpose" is attested from late 14c.ETD willfully (adv.).2

    willies (n.)

    "spell of nervousness," 1896, perhaps from the woollies, a dialectal term for "nervous uneasiness," probably in reference to the itchiness of wool garments.ETD willies (n.).2


    masc. proper name, from Old North French Willaume, Norman form of French Guillaume, of Germanic origin (cognates: Old High German Willahelm, German Wilhelm), from willio "will" (see will (n.)) + helma "helmet," from Proto-Germanic *helmaz "protective covering" (from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save;" compare helm (n.2)). After the Conquest, the most popular given name in England until supplanted by John.ETD William.2

    will-o'-the-wisp (n.)

    1660s, earlier Will with the wisp (c. 1600), from the masc. proper name Will + wisp "bundle of hay or straw used as a torch." Compare Jack-o'-lantern.ETD will-o'-the-wisp (n.).2

    willow (n.)

    Old English welig "willow," from Proto-Germanic *wel- (source also of Old Saxon wilgia, Middle Dutch wilghe, Dutch wilg), probably from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects. The change in form to -ow (14c.) paralleled that of bellow and fellow. The more typical Germanic word for the tree is represented by withy.ETD willow (n.).2

    willowy (adj.)

    "flexible and graceful," 1791, from willow + -y (2). Earlier "bordered or shaded by willows" (1751). Willowish is older (1650s) but only in reference to the color of willow leaves. Related: Willowiness.ETD willowy (adj.).2

    willpower (n.)

    also will power, 1847, from will (n.) + power (n.).ETD willpower (n.).2


    c. 1600, contraction of will I, nill I, or will he, nill he, or will ye, nill ye, literally "with or without the will of the person concerned." See nill + will (v.1).ETD willy-nilly.2

    Wilsonian (adj.)

    1921, "characteristic of the U.S. presidency of Woodrow Wilson" (1856-1924), especially in reference to idealism in foreign policy.ETD Wilsonian (adj.).2

    wilt (v.)

    1690s, "to fade, droop, wither," probably an alteration of welk "to wilt," probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German welken "to wither," cognate with Old High German irwelhen "become soft," from Proto-Germanic *welk-, from PIE root *welg- "wet" (see welkin). Transitive sense of "cause to fade or droop" is from 1809. Related: Wilted; wilting.ETD wilt (v.).2


    district of South London, Old English Wunemannedune (10c.), probably "Wynnman's hill," from proper name *Wynnman. The -m- is unetymological; the -n- to -l- substitution was common in Anglo-French. Used metonymically from 1895 for the lawn tennis championships played annually there.ETD Wimbledon.2

    wimp (n.)

    1920 (but not attested again until 1960), perhaps a clipped form of whimper (cf whimp, 1540s), perhaps influenced by J. Wellington Wimpy, comparatively unaggressive character in "Popeye" comics.ETD wimp (n.).2

    wimp (v.)

    1986, with out (adv.), from wimp (n.). Related: Wimped; wimping.ETD wimp (v.).2

    wimpy (adj.)

    1967, from wimp (n.) + -y (2). Related: Wimpiness.ETD wimpy (adj.).2

    wimple (n.)

    "head and neck covering for women," formerly worn out of doors and especially by nuns, Old English wimpel, from Proto-Germanic *wimpilaz (source also of Old Saxon wimpal, Old Frisian wimpel, Middle Dutch, Dutch wimpel, Old High German wimpal, German wimpel, Old Norse vimpill), of obscure origin; perhaps from a suffixed, nasalized form of PIE root *weip- "to turn" on the notion of "something that winds around." Old French guimple (French guimpe) is from Germanic.ETD wimple (n.).2

    win (v.)

    "be victorious," c. 1300 fusion of Old English winnan "to labor, toil, struggle for, work at, strive, fight," and gewinnan "to gain or succeed by struggling, conquer, obtain," both from Proto-Germanic *wennanan "to seek to gain" (source also of Old Saxon winnan, Old Norse vinna, Old Frisian winna, Dutch winnen "to gain, win," Danish vinde "to win," Old High German winnan "to strive, struggle, fight," German gewinnen "to gain, win," Gothic gawinnen "to suffer, toil"), from PIE root *wen- (1) "to desire, strive for."ETD win (v.).2

    Related: Won; winning. Meaning "gain the affection or esteem of" is from c. 1600. Breadwinner preserves the sense of "toil" in Old English winnan. Phrase you can't win them all (1954) first attested in Raymond Chandler. Winningest is attested by 1804.ETD win (v.).3

    win (n.)

    Old English winn "labor, toil; strife, conflict; profit, gain," from the source of win (v.). Modern sense of "a victory in a game or contest" is first attested 1862, from the verb.ETD win (n.).2

    winning (n.)

    "thing gained or won," late 14c., verbal noun from win (v.). Related: Winnings.ETD winning (n.).2

    wince (v.)

    c. 1300, wincen; mid-13c. winchen, "to recoil suddenly," from Anglo-French *wenchir, Old North French *wenchier (Old French guenchir) "to turn aside, avoid," from Frankish *wenkjan, from Proto-Germanic *wankjan (source also of Old High German wankon "to stagger, totter," Old Norse vakka "to stray, hover;" see wink (v.)). Originally of horses. Modern form is attested from late 13c. Related: Winced; wincing.ETD wince (v.).2

    winch (n.)

    late 13c., from Old English wince "winch, pulley," from Proto-Germanic *winkja-, from PIE *weng- "to bend, curve" (see wink (v.)). Perhaps so called in reference to the bent handle.ETD winch (n.).2

    winch (v.)

    "to hoist with a winch," 1520s, from winch (n.). Related: Winched; winching.ETD winch (v.).2


    city in Hampshire, capital of Wessex and later of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Old English Uintancæstir (c.730), from Ouenta (c. 150), from Venta, a pre-Celtic name perhaps meaning "favored or chief place" + Old English ceaster "Roman town" (see Chester). As the name of a kind of breech-loading repeating rifle it is from the name of Oliver F. Winchester (1810-1880), U.S. manufacturer.ETD Winchester.2

    wind (n.1)

    "air in motion," Old English wind "wind," from Proto-Germanic *winda- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch wind, Old Norse vindr, Old High German wind, German Wind, Gothic winds), from PIE *wē-nt-o‑ "blowing," suffixed (participial) form of root *we- "to blow."ETD wind (n.1).2

    Normal pronunciation evolution made this word rhyme with kind and rind (Donne rhymes it with mind and Thomas Moore with behind), but it shifted to a short vowel 18c., probably from influence of windy, where the short vowel is natural. A sad loss for poets, who now must rhyme it only with sinned and a handful of weak words. Symbolic of emptiness and vanity since late 13c.ETD wind (n.1).3

    Meaning "breath" is attested from late Old English; especially "breath in speaking" (early 14c.), so long-winded, also "easy or regular breathing" (early 14c.), hence second wind in the figurative sense (by 1830), an image from the sport of hunting.ETD wind (n.1).4

    Winds "wind instruments of an orchestra" is from 1876. Figurative phrase which way the wind blows for "the current state of affairs" is suggested from c. 1400. To get wind of "receive information about" is by 1809, perhaps inspired by French avoir le vent de. To take the wind out of (one's) sails in the figurative sense (by 1883) is an image from sailing, where a ship without wind can make no progress. Wind-chill index is recorded from 1939. Wind energy from 1976. Wind vane from 1725.ETD wind (n.1).5

    wind (v.2)

    "to perceive by scent, get wind of," c. 1400, from wind (n.1). Of horns, etc., "make sound by blowing through," from 1580s. Meaning "tire, put out of breath; render temporarily breathless" is from 1802, originally in pugilism, in reference to the effect of a punch in the stomach. Related: Winded; winding.ETD wind (v.2).2

    wind (v.1)

    "move by turning and twisting," Old English windan "to turn, twist, plait, curl, brandish, swing" (class III strong verb; past tense wand, past participle wunden), from Proto-Germanic *windan "to wind" (source also of Old Saxon windan, Old Norse vinda, Old Frisian winda, Dutch winden, Old High German wintan, German winden, Gothic windan "to wind"), from PIE *wendh- "to turn, wind, weave" (source also of Latin viere "twist, plait, weave," vincire "bind;" Lithuanian vyti "twist, wind").ETD wind (v.1).2

    Related to wend, which is its causative form, and to wander. The past tense and past participle merged in Middle English. Meaning "to twine, entwine oneself around" is from 1590s; transitive sense of "turn or twist round and round (on something) is from c. 1300. Meaning "set a watch, clockwork, etc. in operating mode by tightening its spring" is from c. 1600. Wind down "come to a conclusion" is recorded from 1952; wind up "come to a conclusion" is from 1825; earlier in transitive sense "put (affairs) in order in advance of a final settlement" (1780). Winding sheet "shroud of a corpse" is attested from early 15c.ETD wind (v.1).3

    wind (n.2)

    "an act of winding round," 1825, from wind (v.1) . Earlier, "an apparatus for winding," late 14c., in which use perhaps from a North Sea Germanic word, such as Middle Dutch, Middle Low German winde "windlass."ETD wind (n.2).2

    windage (n.)

    1710, "allowance of space between the projectile and the diameter of the tube of a firearm," from wind (n.1) + -age. Meaning "allowance for wind deflection" is from 1867.ETD windage (n.).2

    windbag (n.)

    late 15c., "bellows for an organ," from wind (n.1) + bag (n.). Figurative sense of "person who talks too much" is attested from 1827.ETD windbag (n.).2

    windbreak (n.)

    also wind-break, "row of trees, etc., to break the force of the wind," 1861, American English, from wind (n.1) + break (n.).ETD windbreak (n.).2

    windbreaker (n.)

    type of jacket to keep off the wind (originally a kind of leather shirt), 1918, from wind (n.1) + agent noun from break (v.).ETD windbreaker (n.).2

    windfall (n.)

    mid-15c., from wind (n.1) + fall (n.1). Originally literal, in reference to wood or fruit blown down by the wind, and thus free to all. Figurative sense of "unexpected acquisition" is recorded from 1540s.ETD windfall (n.).2

    windhover (n.)

    "kestrel," 1670s, from wind (n.1) + hover; so called from the bird's habit of hovering in the wind. Among the many early names for it was windfucker (1590s).ETD windhover (n.).2

    windy (adj.)

    Old English windig "windy, breezy;" see wind (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "affected by flatulence" is in late Old English. Chicago has been the Windy City at least since 1885.ETD windy (adj.).2

    windlass (n.)

    device for raising weights by winding a rope round a cylinder, c. 1400, alteration of wyndase (late 13c.), from Anglo-French windas, and directly from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse vindass, from vinda "to wind" (see wind (v.1)) + ass "pole, beam" (cognate with Gothic ans "beam, pillar").ETD windlass (n.).2

    windmill (n.)

    c. 1300, from wind (n.1) + mill (n.). Similar formation in German Windmühle, Dutch windmolen, French moulin à vent. Verb meaning "to swing the arms wildly" is recorded from 1888. Related: Windmilled; windmilling.ETD windmill (n.).2

    window (n.)

    c. 1200, literally "wind eye," from Old Norse vindauga, from vindr "wind" (see wind (n.1)) + auga "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). Replaced Old English eagþyrl, literally "eye-hole," and eagduru, literally "eye-door." Compare Old Frisian andern "window," literally "breath-door."ETD window (n.).2

    Originally an unglazed hole in a roof. Most Germanic languages later adopted a version of Latin fenestra to describe the glass version (such as German Fenster, Swedish fönster), and English used fenester as a parallel word till mid-16c.ETD window (n.).3

    Window dressing in reference to shop windows is recorded from 1853; figurative sense is by 1898. Window seat is attested from 1778. Window of opportunity (1979) is from earlier figurative use in U.S. space program, such as launch window (1963). Window-shopping is recorded from 1904.ETD window (n.).4

    Windows (n.)

    the computer operating system by Microsoft was introduced in 1985 and modified thereafter; it was predominant by c. 1995.ETD Windows (n.).2

    windowless (adj.)

    1760, from window (n.) + -less.ETD windowless (adj.).2

    windowsill (n.)

    also window-sill, 1703, from window (n.) + sill (n.).ETD windowsill (n.).2

    windpipe (n.)

    "trachea," 1520s, from wind (n.1) in the "breath" sense + pipe (n.1).ETD windpipe (n.).2

    wind-rose (n.)

    1590s, from wind (n.1) + rose (n.1).ETD wind-rose (n.).2

    windrow (n.)

    1520s, from wind (n.1) + row (n.). Because it is exposed to the wind for drying.ETD windrow (n.).2

    windshield (n.)

    1902, from wind (n.1) + shield (n.). U.S. alternative to British windscreen (which is attested from 1905 in this sense).ETD windshield (n.).2

    wind-sock (n.)

    also windsock, 1922, from wind (n.1) + sock (n.).ETD wind-sock (n.).2


    town in Berkshire, Old English Windlesoran (c.1060), literally "bank or slope with a windlass" (Old English *windels). Site of a royal residence, hence Windsor chair (1724), Windsor tie (1895), Windsor knot in a necktie (1953).ETD Windsor.2

    windstorm (n.)

    late 14c., from wind (n.1) + storm (n.).ETD windstorm (n.).2

    windsurf (v.)

    also wind-surf, 1969, from wind (n.1) + surf (v.). Related: Windsurfed; windsurfing.ETD windsurf (v.).2

    windswept (adj.)

    1932, originally of hair, from wind (n.1) + past participle of sweep (v.).ETD windswept (adj.).2

    wind-up (n.)

    1570s, "conclusion or final adjustment and settlement of some matter," from verbal phrase wind up (see wind (v.1)). Baseball pitching sense attested from 1906.ETD wind-up (n.).2

    windward (adj.)

    "on the side toward which the wind blows," 1540s, from wind (n.1) + -ward.ETD windward (adj.).2

    wine (v.)

    "entertain with wine," 1862, from wine (n.). Earlier "expend in drinking wine" (1620s). Related: Wined; wining.ETD wine (v.).2

    wine (n.)

    Old English win "wine," from Proto-Germanic *winam (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German win, Old Norse vin, Dutch wijn, German Wein), an early borrowing from Latin vinum "wine," from PIE *uoin-a-, related to words for "wine" in other southern European languages (Greek oinos, Albanian Gheg vênë), also Armenian (gini), Hittite (uiian(a)-), and non-Indo-European Georgian and West Semitic (Arabic wain, Hebrew yayin).ETD wine (n.).2

    According to Watkins, probably from a lost Mediterranean language word *win-/*woin- "wine." However, Beekes argues that the word is of Indo-European origin, related to Greek itea "willow," Latin vītis "vine," and other words, and they may be derived from the root *wei- "to turn, bend."ETD wine (n.).3

    Also from Latin vinum (some perhaps via Germanic) are Old Church Slavonic vino, Polish wino, Russian vino, Lithuanian vynas, Welsh gwin, Old Irish fin, Gaelic fion. Essentially the same word as vine (q.v.). Wine snob is recorded from 1951. Wine cellar is from late 14c. Wine-cooler is 1815 as "vessel in which bottled wine is kept cool;" by 1977 as a type of wine-based beverage.ETD wine (n.).4

    winebibber (n.)

    "drunkard," 1530s, loan-translation of German Weinsäufer (Luther), from Wein "wine" + Säufer "bibber." See bibber. Related: Winebibbing.ETD winebibber (n.).2

    winery (n.)

    1867, American English, from wine (n.) + -ery.ETD winery (n.).2

    wine-skin (n.)

    also wineskin, by 1749, from wine (n.) + skin (n.).ETD wine-skin (n.).2


    masc. proper name, from Old English Winfrið, literally "friend of peace," from wine "friend" (related to winnan "to strive, struggle, fight;" see win (v.)) + friðu "peace" (from suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to love").ETD Winfred.2

    wing (n.)

    late 12c., wenge, "forelimb fitted for flight of a bird or bat," also the part of some insects resembling a wing in form or function, from Old Norse vængr "wing of a bird, aisle, etc." (cognate with Danish and Swedish vinge "wing"), of unknown origin, perhaps from a Proto-Germanic *we-ingjaz, suffixed form of PIE root *we- "blow" (source of Old English wawan "to blow." Replaced Old English feðra (plural) "wings" (see feather). The meaning "either of two divisions of a political party, army, etc." is first recorded c. 1400; theatrical sense is from 1790.ETD wing (n.).2

    The slang sense of earn (one's) wings is 1940s, from the wing-shaped badges awarded to air cadets on graduation. To be under (someone's) wing "protected by (someone)" is recorded from early 13c. Phrase on a wing and a prayer is title of a 1943 song about landing a damaged aircraft.ETD wing (n.).3

    winged (adj.)

    late 14c., past-participle adjective from wing (v.).ETD winged (adj.).2

    wing (v.)

    c. 1600, "take flight;" 1610s, "fit with wings," from wing (n.). Meaning "shoot a bird in the wing" is from 1802, with figurative extensions to wounds suffered in non-essential parts. Verbal phrase wing it (1885) is said to be from a theatrical slang sense of an actor learning his lines in the wings before going onstage, or else not learning them at all and being fed by a prompter in the wings; but perhaps it is simply an image of a baby bird taking flight from the nest for the first time (the phrase is attested in this sense from 1875). Related: Winged; winging.ETD wing (v.).2

    wingding (n.)

    1927, originally hobo slang, "counterfeit seizures induced to attract sympathy;" meaning "energetic celebration" is by 1949. As a type of dingbat fonts made by Microsoft, from 1990.ETD wingding (n.).2

    wingman (n.)

    pilot of the plane beside the lead aircraft in a formation, 1943 (earlier as a football position), from wing (n.) + man (n.). With figurative extensions, including the dating-sidekick one that was in use by 2006.ETD wingman (n.).2

    wingnut (n.)

    "nut with flared sides for turning with the thumb and forefinger;" so called for its shape (see wing (n.) + nut (n.)). Meaning "weird person" recorded by 1989, probably not from the literal sense but from the secondary sense of nut, influenced perhaps by slang senses of wing in wing-ding "wild party," originally "fit, spasm" (1937). An earlier, British, sense of wingnut was "person with large, protruding ears" (1986).ETD wingnut (n.).2

    wingspan (n.)

    also wing-span, 1894, from wing (n.) + span (n.1).ETD wingspan (n.).2

    wingtip (n.)

    also wing-tip, 1867, "tip of a wing" (originally of insects; by 1870 of birds), from wing (n.) + tip (n.1). Of airplane wings from 1909. As a type of shoe with a back-curving toe cap suggestive of a bird's wingtip, from 1928. Related: Wing-tipped.ETD wingtip (n.).2

    wink (v.)

    Old English wincian "to blink, wink, close one's eyes quickly," from Proto-Germanic *wink- (source also of Dutch winken, Old High German winkan "move sideways, stagger; nod," German winken "to wave, wink"), a gradational variant of the root of Old High German wankon "to stagger, totter," Old Norse vakka "to stray, hover," from PIE root *weng- "to bend, curve." The meaning "close an eye as a hint or signal" is first recorded c. 1100; that of "close one's eyes (to fault or irregularity)" first attested late 15c. Related: Winked; winking.ETD wink (v.).2

    wink (n.)

    "a quick shutting and opening of the eyes," c. 1300, from wink (v.); meaning "very brief moment of time" is attested from 1580s.ETD wink (n.).2

    winkle (n.)

    edible mollusk, 1580s, shortening of periwinkle (n.2).ETD winkle (n.).2

    winless (adj.)

    1948, from win (n.) + -less.ETD winless (adj.).2

    winnable (adj.)

    1540s, from win (v.) + -able.ETD winnable (adj.).2


    "Siouan people of eastern Wisconsin," 1766, from Potawatomi winepyekoha, literally "person of dirty water," in reference to the muddy or fish-clogged waters of the Fox River below Lake Winnebago. As a type of motor vehicle, attested from 1966.ETD Winnebago.2

    winner (n.)

    mid-14c., agent noun from win (v.). Adjectival winner-take-all attested from 1901.ETD winner (n.).2


    originally the name of the lake, probably from Ojibwa (Algonquian) winipeg "dirty water;" compare winad "it is dirty." Etymologically related to Winnebago.ETD Winnipeg.2

    winnow (v.)

    late 14c., from Old English windwian "to fan, winnow," from wind "air in motion, paring down," see wind (n.1). Cognate with Old Norse vinza, Old High German winton "to fan, winnow," Gothic diswinþjan "to throw (grain) apart."ETD winnow (v.).2

    wino (n.)

    1915, from wine + suffix as in bucko, kiddo.ETD wino (n.).2

    winsome (adj.)

    Old English wynsum "agreeable, pleasant," from wynn "pleasure, delight," from Proto-Germanic *wunjo- (source also of Old Saxon wunnia, Old High German wunja, German Wonne "joy, delight"), from PIE root *wen- (1) "to desire, strive for" + -sum (see -some (1)). Apparently surviving only in northern English dialect for 400 years until revived 18c. by Hamilton, Burns, and other Scottish poets. Similar formation in Old Saxon wunsam, Old High German wunnisam. Related: Winsomely; winsomeness.ETD winsome (adj.).2

    winter (v.)

    "to pass the winter (in some place)," late 14c., from winter (n.). Related: Wintered; wintering.ETD winter (v.).2

    winterize (v.)

    by 1915 in reference to automobiles, "prepare for winter," a commercial coinage from winter (n.) + -ize. From 1913 in beer advertisements in newspapers in Hawaii stressing the coolness of the drink. Related: Winterized; winterizing.ETD winterize (v.).2

    winter (n.)

    Old English winter (plural wintru), "the fourth and coldest season of the year, winter," from Proto-Germanic *wintruz "winter" (source also of Old Frisian, Dutch winter, Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, German winter, Danish and Swedish vinter, Gothic wintrus, Old Norse vetr "winter"), probably literally "the wet season," from PIE *wend-, nasalized form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet"). On another old guess, cognate with Gaulish vindo-, Old Irish find "white." The usual PIE word is *gheim-.ETD winter (n.).2

    As an adjective in Old English. The Anglo-Saxons counted years in "winters," as in Old English anwintre "one-year-old. yearling;" and wintercearig, which might mean either "winter-sad" or "sad with years." Old Norse Vetrardag, first day of winter, was the Saturday that fell between Oct. 10 and 16.ETD winter (n.).3

    wintergreen (n.)

    type of plant, 1540s, from winter (n.) + green (n.). So called from keeping green through the winter.ETD wintergreen (n.).2

    wintry (adj.)

    Old English wintrig (see winter (n.) + -y (2)); also winterlic; "but the modern word appears to be a new formation" [Barnhart]. Similar formation in German wintericht.ETD wintry (adj.).2

    wipe (n.)

    1640s, "act of wiping," from wipe (v.). From 1708 as "something used in wiping" (especially a handkerchief); 1971 as "disposable absorbent tissue."ETD wipe (n.).2

    wipe (v.)

    Old English wipian "to wipe, cleanse," from Proto-Germanic *wipjan "to move back and forth" (source also of Danish vippe, Middle Dutch, Dutch vippen, Old High German wifan "to swing"), from PIE root *weip- "to turn, vacillate, tremble."ETD wipe (v.).2

    wipeout (n.)

    also wipe-out, 1962, American English, surfer slang, from wipe (v.) + out. Sense of "destruction, defeat, a killing" is recorded from 1968. Verbal phrase wipe out "destroy, obliterate" is from 1610s.ETD wipeout (n.).2

    wiper (n.)

    1550s as a person, 1580s as a cloth, agent noun wipe (v.). From 1929 as short for windshield wiper.ETD wiper (n.).2

    wired (adj.)

    Old English wired "made of wire," past-participle adjective from wire (v.). From early 15c. as "stiffened by wires." Meaning "nervous, jittery" is by 1970s; earlier (1959, perhaps early 1950s) "using narcotic drugs, addicted to drugs."ETD wired (adj.).2

    wire (n.)

    Old English wir "metal drawn out into a fine thread," from Proto-Germanic *wira- (source also of Old Norse viravirka "filigree work," Swedish vira "to twist," Old High German wiara "fine gold work"), from PIE root *wei- "to turn, twist, plait."ETD wire (n.).2

    A wire as marking the finish line of a racecourse is attested from 1883; hence the figurative down to the wire. Wire-puller in the political sense is by 1842, American English, on the image of pulling the wires that work a puppet; the image itself in politics is older:ETD wire (n.).3

    wiring (n.)

    "wires collectively," 1809, later especially "electrical wirework" (1887), from present participle of wire (v.).ETD wiring (n.).2

    wire (v.)

    c. 1300, "adorn with (gold) wire," from wire (n.). From 1859 as "communicate by means of a telegraphic wire;" 1891 as "furnish with electrical wires and connections." Related: Wired; wiring.ETD wire (v.).2

    wiredraw (v.)

    1590s, "to make wire by drawing metal," from wire (n.) + draw (v.). Related: Wiredrawer; wiredrawing.ETD wiredraw (v.).2

    wiregrass (n.)

    also wire-grass, 1790, from wire (n.) + grass (n.).ETD wiregrass (n.).2

    wireless (adj.)

    1894, in reference to as a type of telegraph, from wire (n.) + -less. As a noun, "radio broadcasting," attested from 1903, subsequently superseded by radio.ETD wireless (adj.).2

    wireman (n.)

    worker on electrical lines, 1881, from wire (n.) + man (n.).ETD wireman (n.).2

    wire-tapping (n.)

    also wiretapping, "surreptitiously obtaining information by connecting wires to telegraph (later telephone) lines and establishing an intermediate station between two legitimate ones," 1878, from wire (n.) + agent noun from tap (v.2). Earliest references often are to activity during the American Civil War, but the phrase does not seem to have been used at that time. Related: Wire-tap; wire-tapper.ETD wire-tapping (n.).2

    wiry (adj.)

    1580s, "made of wire," from wire (n.) + -y (2). As "resembling wire" from 1590s; of persons, "lean, sinewy," by 1808. Related: Wiriness.ETD wiry (adj.).2


    *wī-ro-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "man."ETD *wi-ro-.2

    It forms all or part of: curia; Fergus; triumvir; triumvirate; Weltanschauung; Weltschmerz; werewolf; wergeld; world; virago; virile; virility; virtue; virtuosity; virtuoso; virtuous.ETD *wi-ro-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit virah, Avestan vira-, Latin vir, Lithuanian vyras, Old Irish fer, Welsh gwr, Gothic wair, Old English wer "a man."ETD *wi-ro-.4


    organized as a U.S. territory 1836; admitted as a state 1848. Originally applied to the Wisconsin River; a native name of unknown origin. Early spellings include Mescousing and Wishkonsing. "Of all the states of the American union, none has a name that has been spelled in more ways or interpreted more variously, than Wisconsin," according to Virgil J. Vogel, "Indian Names on Wisconsin's Map" (University of Wisconsin Press, 1991). He lists 15 spellings and says the word has been attributed to French, Menominee, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Sauk-Fox, and Winnebago.ETD Wisconsin.2

    It was Wisconsan on an 1823 map of Michigan Territory; the modern spelling dates to 1829, but Wiskonsin remained a stubborn variant until the territorial legislature fixed the spelling in 1845.ETD Wisconsin.3

    Modern scholarship seems to look to the writings of Marquette (1670s) and his use of Mascouten, etc., for a river and people name. Vogel describes the theory:ETD Wisconsin.4

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