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See also: won't and wo'n't



Etymology 1[edit]

Origin uncertain; apparently a conflation of wone (custom, habit, practice) and wont (participle adjective, below). Compare German Low German Gewohnte (custom, habit) and Dutch gewoonte. Likely related to wone, wonder, wean, and win, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wenh₁- (to wish for, strive for, pursue; to succeed, win); more there.

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wont (usually uncountable, plural wonts)

  1. (archaic) One's habitual way of doing things; custom, habit, practice.
    He awoke at the crack of dawn, as was his wont.
    • 1644, John Milton, Of Education, To Master Samuel Hartlib[2], [London: Printed for Thomas Underhill and/or Thomas Johnson], →OCLC; republished in The Works of John Milton, Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous. Now More Correctly Printed from the Originals, than in any Former Edition, and Many Passages Restored, which have been hitherto Omitted. To which is Prefixed, an Account of His Life and Writings [by Thomas Birch]. In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for A[ndrew] Millar, in the Strand, 1753, →OCLC, page 147:
      [T]hey [Spartan youth] are by a ſudden alarum or watch-word, to be called out to their military motions, under ſky or covert, according to the ſeaſon, as was the Roman wont; []
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 563:
      [] when Sindbad the Seaman had related the history of what befel him in his sixth voyage, and all the company had dispersed, Sindbad the Landsman went home and slept as of wont.
    • 1915, The Practical Dental Journal, volume 15, San Antonio, Tx.: Ferguson Dental Supply Co., →OCLC, page 100:
      Such conditions, having been the common practice for years, and, existing in a less degree in some localities to the present time, afford a tangible reason for a form of correlation that is more universal than it is the wont of the profession to admit; namely, that with the laity, dentistry and "the pulling of teeth," and the dentist and "the tooth puller," are very closely related subjects []
    • 1920, James Brown Scott, “The Federal Convention: An International Conference”, in The United States of America: A Study in International Organization (Publications of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Division of International Law), New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →OCLC, page 149:
      As was also the wont of international conferences, a delegate from Pennsylvania, in this instance James Wilson, proposed the appointment of a secretary and nominated William Temple Franklin, whose selection would have been agreeable to the authorities of Pennsylvania, inasmuch as he was the grandson of its venerable chief executive.
    • 2001, Orhan Pamuk; Erdağ M. Göknar, transl., “I am Called Black”, in My Name Is Red, London: Faber and Faber, →ISBN; paperback edition, London: Faber and Faber, 2002, →ISBN, page 62:
      With a simple-minded desire, and to rid my mind of this irrepressible urge, I retired to a corner of the room, as was my wont, but after a while I realized I couldn't jack off—proof well enough that I'd fallen in love again after twelve years!
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English wont, iwoned, from Old English ġewunod, past participle of ġewunian.


wont (not comparable)

  1. Accustomed or used (to or with a thing), accustomed or apt (to do something).
    He is wont to complain loudly about his job.
    • 1556, Anthoni de Adamo [Agostino Mainardi], “The Examinacion of the Kyrie Eleeson and of the Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and how that Many Praiers after the Gloria in Excelsis, be Wicked, and that the Epistle and Gospell, and Generally the Whole Worde of God in the Masse, are Vnworthely and Euell Fauoredly Handled”, in An Anatomi, that is to Say a Parting in Peeces of the Mass. Which Discouereth the Horrible Errors, and the Infinit Abuses Vnknowen to the People, aswel of the Mass as of the Mass Book, very Profitable, yea Most Necessary for al Christian People. With a Sermon of the Sacrament of Thankesgyuyng in the End, whiche Declareth whether Christ be Bodyly in the Sacrament or Not, [Strasbourg]: [Printed by the heirs of W. Köpfel], →OCLC, page 19:
      This is the ſuteltie of Satan, who vnder the shew of godly matters, deceaueth the vnaduyſed, as we are wont to ſay, that in the honye lyeth hidden the poiſon.
    • 1751, [Thomas Gray], An Elegy Wrote in a Country Church-yard, London: Printed for R[obert] Dodsley in Pall-Mall; and sold by M[ary] Cooper in Pater-noster-Row, →OCLC; republished as “An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard”, in A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands, volume IV, 2nd edition, London: Printed by J. Hughs, for R[obert] and J[ames] Dodsley, at Tully's-Head in Pall-Mall, 1758, →OCLC, page 5:
      On ſome fond breaſt the parting ſoul relies, / Some pious drops the cloſing eye requires; / Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, / Ev'n in our Aſhes live their wonted Fires.
    • 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “The Abbot’s Ways”, in Past and Present, book II (The Ancient Monk), London: Chapman & Hall, →OCLC, page 83:
      He could read English Manuscripts very elegantly, elegantissime: he was wont to preach to the people in the English tongue, though according to the dialect of Norfolk, where he had been brought up; []
    • 2017 June 26, Alexis Petridis, “Glastonbury 2017 verdict: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Lorde, Stormzy and more”, in the Guardian[3]:
      But while Katy Perry similarly threw herself into the spirit of the event – crowdsurfing, dancing with a security guard, charming the audience – her peculiar combination of newfound political conscience and longstanding predisposition to DayGlo cartoonishness was simultaneously intriguing and baffling, as a woman delivering between-song speeches about the necessity of taking back power surrounded by dancers dressed as flowers and giant pom-poms covered in fluorescent fur was perhaps wont to be.
Derived terms[edit]
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Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English wonten (to accustom), from wont (adjective). See above.


wont (third-person singular simple present wonts, present participle wonting, simple past and past participle wonted)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To make (someone) used to; to accustom.
    • 1830, [Joseph Plumb Martin], “Campaign of 1780”, in A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier; Interspersed with Anecdotes of Incidents that Occurred within His Own Observation, Hallowell, Me.: Printed by Glazier, Masters & Co. No. 1, Kennebec-Row, →OCLC, page 141:
      I have heard it remarked by the old farmers, that when beasts are first transferred from one place to another, that if they keep them without food for two or three days, it will go far towards wonting them to their new situation.
  2. (intransitive, archaic) To be accustomed (to something), to be in the habit (of doing something).


  1. ^ Jespersen, Otto (1909) A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles (Sammlung germanischer Elementar- und Handbücher; 9)‎[1], volumes I: Sounds and Spellings, London: George Allen & Unwin, published 1961, § 11.66, page 334.


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English wand, wond, from Proto-Germanic *wanduz.



wont (plural wontes)

  1. mole (Talpa europea)
    Synonyms: moldewarpe, molle


  • English: want (dialectal)
  • Scots: want