witch

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

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From Middle English wicche, from Old English wiċċe (sorceress, witch) f. and wicca (witch, sorcerer, warlock) m., deverbative from wiccian (to practice sorcery), from Proto-Germanic *wikkōną (compare West Frisian wikje, wikke (to foretell, warn), Low German wicken (to soothsay), Dutch wikken, wichelen (to dowse, divine)), from Proto-Indo-European *wik-néh₂-, derivation of *weyk- (to consecrate; separate);[1] akin to Latin victima (sacrificial victim), Lithuanian viẽkas (life-force), Sanskrit विनक्ति (vinákti, to set apart, separate out).

Noun[edit]

witch (plural witches)

  1. A person who practices witchcraft; a woman or (now uncommon) man who practices witchcraft.
    • a. 1472, Thomas Malory, “Capitulum viij”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book I, [London: [] by William Caxton], published 31 July 1485, OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: Published by David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034:
      Some of the kynges had merueyl of Merlyns wordes and demed well that it shold be as he said / And som of hem lough hym to scorne / as kyng Lot / and mo other called hym a wytche / But thenne were they accorded with Merlyn that kynge Arthur shold come oute and speke with the kynges.
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:witch.
    1. (now usually particularly) A woman who is learned in and actively practices witchcraft.
  2. (derogatory) An ugly or unpleasant woman.
    I hate that old witch.
  3. One who exercises more-than-common power of attraction; a charming or bewitching person.
  4. One given to mischief, especially a woman or child.
  5. (geometry) A certain curve of the third order, described by Maria Agnesi under the name versiera.
  6. The stormy petrel.
  7. Any of a number of flatfish:
    1. Glyptocephalus cynoglossus (Torbay sole), found in the North Atlantic.
    2. Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis (megrim), found in the North Atlantic.
    3. Arnoglossus scapha, found near New Zealand.
  8. The Indomalayan butterfly Araotes lapithis, of the family Lycaenidae.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
Further reading[edit]

Verb[edit]

witch (third-person singular simple present witches, present participle witching, simple past and past participle witched)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To practise witchcraft.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To bewitch.
    • 1900, Gilbert Murray, Andromache: A Play in Three Acts:
      She has witched the Queen's womb long ago, and witched the whole harvest.
  3. (intransitive) To dowse for water.
    • 1964, Hilda E. Webb, Water Witching and Other Folk Talents in the Neighborhood of Bloomington, Indiana:
      And I told him there's a vein down there, I know 'caus I used to--uh, I went out here and witched one for this house, at the corner.
    • 2006, Helen Ayers, Appalachian Daughter: The Exodus of the Mountaineers from Appalachia:
      Nothing would make him shut up until I brought my dogwood stick into his office and witched for water.
    • 2010, C.J. Ott, True Stories: Memories, Musings, Odds and Ends:
      Eventually, Don and Jim built nice big houses on their lots. We enjoyed watching them being built. I remember Don's builder came out and “witched” for a well.
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guus Kroonen, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 586.

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare wick.

Noun[edit]

witch (plural witches)

  1. A cone of paper which is placed in a vessel of lard or other fat and used as a taper.

Scots[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English wicche, from Old English wiċċe (sorceress, witch) f. and wicca (witch, sorcerer) m., deverbative from wiccian (to practice sorcery), from Proto-Germanic *wikkōną (compare West Frisian wikje, wikke (to foretell, warn), Low German wicken (to soothsay), Dutch wikken, wichelen (to dowse, divine)), from Proto-Indo-European *wik-néh₂-, derivation of *weyk- (to consecrate; separate);[1] akin to Latin victima (sacrificial victim), Lithuanian viẽkas (life-force), Sanskrit विनक्ति (vinákti, to set apart, separate out).

Noun[edit]

witch (plural witchs)

  1. witch; a person, chiefly a woman, skilled in sorcery
    1. warlock
  2. (transferred) various animals, insects and objects in some way associated with witches
    1. a moth in general; a tortoiseshell butterfly
    2. the pole flounder or dab, Glyptocephalus cynoglossus
    3. the seaweed, Laminaria saccharina
    4. a red clay marble, generally one that is considered effective in winning games, a “wizard”

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

witch (third-person singular present, present participle witching, past witchit, past participle witchit)

  1. (transitive) To harm (a person, etc.) by means of witchcraft; to bewitch, cast a spell on
  2. (figuratively) To affect or influence as by witchcraft

Further reading[edit]

  1. ^ Guus Kroonen, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 586.