wight

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English, from Old English wiht (wight, person, creature, being, whit, thing, something, anything), from Proto-Germanic *wihtiz (essence, object), from Proto-Indo-European *wekti- (cause, sake, thing), from Proto-Indo-European *wekʷ- (to say, tell). Cognate with Old High German wiht (creature, thing)[1], Dutch wicht, German Wicht, Swedish vätte, Icelandic vættur. See also whit.

The meaning of the wraith-like creature is from barrow-wights in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth world.

Noun[edit]

wight (plural wights)

  1. (archaic) A living creature, especially a human being.
  2. (paganism) A being of one of the Nine Worlds of Heathen belief, especially a nature spirit, elf or ancestor.
  3. (poetic) A ghost, deity or other supernatural entity.
    • 1789, William Blake, A Dream, lines 14-16:
      But I saw a glow-worm near, / Who replied: ‘What wailing wight / Calls the watchman of the night?
    • 1869, William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon (translators), Grettis Saga: The Story of Grettir the Strong, F. S. Ellis, page 49:
      Everything in their way was kicked out of place, the barrow-wight setting on with hideous eagerness; Grettir gave back before him for a long time, till at last it came to this, that he saw it would not do to hoard his strength any more; now neither spared the other, and they were brought to where the horse-bones were, and thereabout they wrestled long.
  4. (fantasy) A wraith-like creature.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English, from Old Norse vígt, neuter of vígr (skilled in fighting, of age), cognate with Old English wīġ.[2]

Adjective[edit]

wight

  1. (archaic except in dialects) Brave, valorous, strong.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter ix, in Le Morte Darthur, book XVIII:
      I haue two sones that were but late made knyghtes / and the eldest hyghte sir Tirre / [] / and my yongest sone hyght Lauayne / and yf hit please yow / he shalle ryde with yow vnto that Iustes / and he is of his age x stronge and wyght
  2. (Britain dialectal) Strong; stout; active.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster, 1974.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster, 1974.

Middle English[edit]

Noun[edit]

wight (plural wightes)

  1. A person, a human being.