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, 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 606515358, [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, Incident by Countee Cullen
- 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.'
- 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; 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|