From Middle English wenden, from Old English wendan (“to turn, change, translate”), from Proto-West Germanic *wandijan, from Proto-Germanic *wandijaną (“to turn”), causative of *windaną (“to wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *wendʰ- (“to turn, wind, braid”).
Cognate with Dutch wenden (“to turn”), German wenden (“to turn, reverse”), Danish vende (“to turn”), Norwegian Bokmål vende (“to turn”), Norwegian Nynorsk venda (“to turn”), Swedish vända (“to turn, turn over, veer, direct”), Icelandic venda (“to wend, turn, change”), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌾𐌰𐌽 (wandjan, “to cause to turn”). Related to wind (Etymology 2).
- (transitive, obsolete) To turn; change, to adapt.
- (transitive) To direct (one's way or course); pursue one's way; proceed upon some course or way.
- We wended our weary way westward.
- 1557 July 1, Virgil, “The Fowrth Boke of Virgiles Aenæis”, in Henry [Howard, Earl] of Surrey, transl., edited by William Bolland, Certain Bokes of Virgiles Aenaeis, Turned into English Meter ([Roxburghe Club Publications; I]), London: […] A[braham] J[ohn] Valpy, […], published 1814, →OCLC:
- And ſtill her thought that ſhe was left alone / Uncompanied great viages to wende.
- 2021 October 1, Robin Craig, “In term-opener, justices will hear Mississippi’s complaint that Tennessee is stealing its groundwater”, in SCOTUSblog:
- Like most original jurisdiction water cases, Mississippi v. Tennessee has taken a few years to wend its way to Supreme Court oral argument, and that argument will be keyed to the parties’ objections to the report of a court-appointed special master.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To turn; make a turn; go round; veer.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To pass away; disappear; depart; vanish.
The modern past tense of wend is wended. Originally it was went, similarly to pairs such as send/sent, spend/spent, lend/lent, rend/rent, or blend/blent. However, went was co-opted as the past tense of go (replacing Early Modern English and Middle English yede, Old English eode) and using it as the past tense of wend is now considered archaic.
wend (plural wends)
- “wend”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “wend”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
- Patuzzi, Umberto, ed., (2013) Luserna / Lusérn: Le nostre parole / Ünsarne börtar / Unsere Wörter [Our Words], Luserna, Italy: Comitato unitario delle isole linguistiche storiche germaniche in Italia / Einheitskomitee der historischen deutschen Sprachinseln in Italien
- Alternative form of