was

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See also: waš and wäs

English[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English was, from Old English wæs, from Proto-Germanic *was, (compare Scots was, Dutch was, Low German was, German war, Swedish var), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wes- (to reside). The paradigm of "to be" has been since the time of Proto-Germanic a synthesis of three originally distinct verb stems. The infinitive form be is from Proto-Indo-European *bʰew- (to become). The words is and are are both derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (to be). Lastly, the past forms starting with w- such as was and were are from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wes- (to reside).

Pronunciation[edit]

stressed

unstressed

  • enPR: wəz, IPA(key): /wəz/
  • (file)
    (in the phrase "I was there")

Verb[edit]

was

  1. First-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
  2. Third-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
  3. (proscribed, dialect) Second-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
    • 1913, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Poison Belt
      "Was you outside the Bank of England, sir?"
  4. (colloquial) Second person plural simple past tense of be
    • 2001, Darrel Rachel, The Magnolias Still Bloom (page 104)
      “What happened here, Hadley?” the chief asked. “We was robbed, damn it, we was robbed.”

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Afrikaans[edit]

Noun[edit]

was (uncountable)

  1. wax

Verb[edit]

was

  1. Past tense of wees.

Verb[edit]

was (present was, present participle wassende, past participle gewas)

  1. to wash

Dutch[edit]

Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia nl

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Cognate with English wash.

Noun[edit]

was m (plural wassen, diminutive wasje n)

  1. laundry, clothes that need to be washed, or just have been washed.

Verb[edit]

was

  1. first-person singular present indicative of wassen
  2. imperative of wassen

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old Dutch *was, from Proto-Germanic *wahsą. Cognate with German Wachs, English wax, Danish voks, Swedish vax.

Noun[edit]

was m, n (plural wassen)

  1. wax
  2. growth

Verb[edit]

was

  1. first-person singular present indicative of wassen
  2. imperative of wassen

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Cognate with English was.

Verb[edit]

was

  1. singular past indicative of zijn
  2. singular past indicative of wezen

Anagrams[edit]


German[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • wat (colloquial in western and parts of northern Germany)

Etymology[edit]

From Old High German (h)waz, originally *(h)wat, from Proto-Germanic *hwat, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷos, *kʷod, compare Dutch wat, English what, Danish hvad.

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

was

  1. (interrogative) what
    Was machst du heute?
    What are you doing today?
  2. (relative) which (referring to the entire preceding clause)
    Sie tanzte gut, was er bewunderte.
    She was a good dancer, which he admired.
  3. (relative) that, which (referring to das, alles, etwas, nichts, and neuter substantival adjectives)
    Das ist alles, was ich will.
    That's all that I want.
    Das ist das Beste, was mir passieren konnte.
    That's the best that could have happened to me.
  4. (relative, colloquial) that, which (referring to neuter singular nouns, instead of standard das)
    Siehst du das weiße Haus, was renoviert wird?
    Do you see that white house, which is being renovated?
  5. (indefinite, colloquial) something, anything (instead of standard etwas)
    Ich hab was gefunden.
    I've found something.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Was is invariable. The genitive case, and the dative case if necessary for clearness, can be paraphrased by means of welcher Sache (“what thing”). Possessive genitives are more commonly paraphrased with wovon (of what).
  • The colloquial was meaning "something" can only be the first word in a sentence if followed by an adjective: Was Wichtiges fehlt noch. – "Something important is missing." Otherwise the full form etwas must be used: Etwas fehlt noch. – "Something is missing." The reason for this is that the latter sentence could be misinterpreted as a question if was were used.
  • Was is not commonly used with prepositions. It is replaced with pronominal adverbs containing wo-. Hence: Womit hast du das gemacht? – "With what did you do that?" Colloquially, this rule is occasionally disregarded: Mit was hast du das gemacht?.

Derived terms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

was

  1. (colloquial) a little, somewhat
    Ich komm' was später.
    I'll arrive a little later.

Gothic[edit]

Romanization[edit]

was

  1. Romanization of 𐍅𐌰𐍃

Gros Ventre[edit]

Noun[edit]

was

  1. bear

Low German[edit]

Verb[edit]

was

  1. first-person singular simple past indicative of węsen
  2. third-person singular simple past indicative of węsen
  3. apocopated form of wasse (wash), second-person singular imperative of wassen (mainly used in the Netherlands, equivalent to other dialects' wasche/waske)
  4. apocopated form of wasse (wax), second-person singular imperative of wassen
  5. apocopated form of wasse (grow), second-person singular imperative of wassen

Usage notes[edit]

Notes on the verb węsen (to be): In recent times (~1800) the old subjunctive wer is used in place of was by many speakers. This might be the old subjunctive which is now used as a preterite or a reduction of weren, which is the preterite plural indicative of the verb. It might also be an imitation of the High German cognate war. Many smaller dialectal clusters do this, but no dialect does it. That means: even though there are many regions within e.g. Lower Saxony that use wer for was, maybe even the majority, there is no straight connection between them, i.e. which form is used can depend on preference, speaker and specific region. Due to this "one town this way, one town that way"-nature of the situation no form can be named "standard" for a greater dialect, such as Low Saxon.


Lower Sorbian[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

was

  1. genitive of wy
  2. accusative of wy
  3. locative of wy

Mayangna[edit]

Noun[edit]

was

  1. water

Polish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

was

  1. Genitive of wy.
  2. Accusative of wy.
  3. Locative of wy.

Scots[edit]

Noun[edit]

was

  1. plural form of wa

Tok Pisin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

English watch

Verb[edit]

was

  1. angel; any supernatural creature in heaven according to Christian theology
    • 1989, Buk Baibel long Tok Pisin, Bible Society of Papua New Guinea, Genesis 3:24 (translation here):
      God i rausim pinis man na meri, na em i makim ol strongpela ensel bilong sanap na was i stap long hap sankamap bilong gaden Iden. Na tu em i putim wanpela bainat i gat paia i lait long en na i save tanim tanim long olgeta hap. Oltaim ol dispela ensel wantaim dispela bainat i save was i stap, nogut wanpela man i go klostu long dispela diwai bilong givim laip.


This entry has fewer than three known examples of actual usage, the minimum considered necessary for clear attestation, and may not be reliable. Tok Pisin is subject to a special exemption for languages with limited documentation. If you speak it, please consider editing this entry or adding citations. See also Help and the Community Portal.