Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



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.


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 or other supernatural entity.
    • 1789, William Blake, A Dream, lines 14-15-16
      But I saw a glow-worm near,
      Who replied: ‘What wailing wight
      Calls the watchman of the night?
  4. (fantasy) A wraith-like creature.

Etymology 2[edit]

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



  1. (archaic except in dialects) Brave, valorous, strong.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XVIII, chapter ix:
      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]


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster, 1974.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster, 1974.
  • “wight” in the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1974 edition.

Middle English[edit]


wight (plural wightes)

  1. A person, a human being.