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"Definition 2" of the verb is just the usual (but dying) rule for the subjunctive. I'm not sure how best to clean this up, so I'm marking it rfc.

It's an irregular subjunctive, so it's worth its own definition. I've reworded it. Colin 23:33, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Missing the Scots definition (see werian).--达伟 14:41, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


Northern England "was"[edit]

It says that "were" means "was" in the North of England. Are you sure? Actually I think that the Northern English are the best at using "was" and "were" when they should. The conditional tense should take "were". In most of the English-speaking world, people say "was". e.g. "I wish I was dead", "I think it was your job", etc. The North of England is about the only place where the average person says "were" rather than "was". I think that somebody's got confused with this entry. Should it be deleted 19:34, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it might have been referring to the use of "were" in place of "was" as the past tense rather than the conditional. It's a trait of Yorkshire English to use "were" as such. 12:32, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

RFV discussion: August 2017[edit]

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"(archaic) man (human male), as in werewolf (man-wolf)"

  • The part were in werewolf might etymologically mean man, but that doesn't attest a New English word were meaning man.
  • By "as in werewolf" it might be the same as were-. And then were- could be the more correct lemma.
  • Webster 1913 ([1]) has "Were (wēr), n. [... Cf. Weregild, and Werewolf.] 1. A man. [Obs.] [...]" but without example. Maybe it's just the part were as in weregild and werewolf which doesn't attest a New English word were meaning man.

- 23:43, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure this is what we are looking for, but I put in some quotes that use "were wolf" or "were gild" -- that is, where the "were-" is not a prefix, but a separate word. That seems to be what this definition is looking for. Finding a quote where were is used on its own to mean man outside these combinations has proved extremely difficult to search for, because there are so many other more common uses of the word, and when I get to works old enough to have a chance of containing such a use, the spelling is so flexible that I am finding lots of other words, such as ware. Kiwima (talk) 03:08, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

It could be were or several terms like were wolf, were gild. For me it's good enough. Thank you were much.
I changed the example from "as in werewolf" (which could be were- + wolf or from ME werewolf) to "as in were wolf" (which can not be analysed as were- + wolf and which is spelled differently than NE werewolf, werwolf, ME werwolf) - 16:13, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

RFV discussion: March 2018[edit]

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Rfv-sense "(archaic) man (human male), as in were wolf (“man-wolf”)." It was previously RFV'ed, and found only in were wolf and were gild, but accepted anyway. I do not see that the given citations suffice to show that English were has the sense "man".__Gamren (talk) 19:42, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

I am perfectly happy with removing "were" meaning man, unless someone finds an example of it standing on its own, but if we do so, we should probably add in were gild to cover that sense. Kiwima (talk) 21:33, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Should it be an {{only in}} pointing at those terms? (I'm on the fence.) - -sche (discuss) 04:47, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
I’d support having {{only in}}. Regarding the sense itself, it seems to have last been used independently around 1400, in the Middle English Parliament of the Three Ages; Middle English resources show no more recent attestations, and searching for it in Lexicons of Early Modern English yields only the weregild meaning. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 08:11, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Would one of you who supports using {{only in}} please add it? I don't know how to use that template when there is more than one term that a word appears in. Kiwima (talk) 02:26, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
The template probably needs to be expanded to accept more than one term; otherwise, the solution is to write something like {{only in|foo|lang=en}} ''and'' '''[[bar]]'''. But I actually hadn't realized there were other senses from the same "man" etymology which would enable were gild and were wolf to sensibly be mentioned on the page: given that, I think it may make more sense to do this. - -sche (discuss) 00:30, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

RFV-resolved Kiwima (talk) 10:12, 7 March 2018 (UTC)