From Middle English wiȝt, wight, from Old English wiht (“wight, person, creature, being, whit, thing, something, anything”), from Proto-Germanic *wihtą (“thing, creature”) or *wihtiz (“essence, object”), from Proto-Indo-European *wekti- (“cause, sake, thing”), from *wekʷ- (“to say, tell”). Cognate with Old High German wiht (“creature, thing”), Dutch wicht, German Wicht. Doublet of wight.
- enPR: wĭt, hwĭt, IPA(key): /wɪt/, /ʍɪt/
- Rhymes: -ɪt
- Homophone: wit (in accents with the wine-whine merger)
whit (plural whits)
- The smallest part or particle imaginable; an iota.
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii]:
- Star. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Bot. Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
- 1917, Countee Cullen, Incident:
- Now I was eight and very small, / And he was no whit bigger / And so I smiled, but he poked out / His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'
- 1944 July and August, “London Railway Stations in 1893”, in Railway Magazine, page 201, taken from The English Illustrated Magazine of June 1893:
- In conclusion, I would remark that the great railway stations of London deserve to be visited every whit as much as St. Paul's Cathedral, the Abbey, or the Tower, and they are as worthy a memento of this century as those buildings are of the days that are gone.
- white, pale, light (in color)
- c. 1395, John Wycliffe, John Purvey [et al.], transl., Bible (Wycliffite Bible (later version), MS Lich 10.), published c. 1410, Apocalips 1:14, page 117v; republished as Wycliffe's translation of the New Testament, Lichfield: Bill Endres, 2010:
- ⁊ þe heed of him ⁊ his heeris weren whiyt as whiyt wolle .· ⁊ as ſnow / ⁊ þe iȝen of him as flawme of fier .·
- And his head and his hairs were white, like white wool or snow, and his eyes were like fire's flame.
- (referring to people) wearing white clothes
- (referring to people) having white skin
- attractive, fair, beautiful
- bright, shining, brilliant
- (referring to plants) having white flowers
- (heraldry) silver, argent (tincture)
- (alchemy) Inducing the transmutation of a substance into silver
- (medicine) Unusually light; bearing the pallor of death
- English: white (see there for further descendants)
- Scots: quhite, fyte, fite, whyte, white
- Yola: whit
- white (colour)
- white pigment
- The white of an egg
- The white of an eye
- white fabric
- white wine
- dairy products
- Other objects notable for being white
|red; cremesyn, gernet||citrine, aumbre; broun, tawne||yelow, dorry, gul; canevas|
|plunket; ewage||asure, livid||blewe, blo, pers|
|violet; inde||rose, murrey; purpel, purpur||claret|
- Alternative form of
- “what, pron., adv., adj., conj., interj..” in the Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries.
whit (comparative whiter)
- Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 78
|whit, baun||gry||bhlock, blaak|
|reed||yulloureed||yullou, ghou, buee|