Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A-to-Z Challenge: W

Introduction, lame segue, wise.

Wise comes from the Old English wis, wise—at least as an adjective. Further back, it’s the Proto Germanic wissaz and Proto Indo European weid, to see. That word happens to be the origin word for vision, by the way. So someone who was wise was someone who could “see”.

But, like I said, that’s just the adjective. Not that the other forms aren’t related, it’s just that they have a slightly different history. There’s both a noun and a verb of wise, although I haven’t really heard either one used in a sentence. The noun means a manner of proceeding and it comes from the Old English wise. Before that, it’s the Proto Germanic wison, which means appearance or manner and is related to wissaz. And finally, there’s the verb, which comes from wisean, just another version of wis.

Wisdom: the ability to see ahead. I guess.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. Wisdom is the ability to see ahead. Or just the experience to know the outcome before the deed is done… So I guess it's about looking both ways, into the past and into the future.

  2. Wissaz reminds me of wasabi. Maybe I'm just hungry.

  3. Your posts this month have certainly helped all of us wise up this month.

    And I get wise and vision being related. Kate's comment is wise.

    Have I used 'wise' enough in this comment?

  4. I can see how wise would have a relation to see. You think of a wise person as someone who has seen things and is knowledgable.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  5. It's always so neat to see how words came into our language. Wisdom definitely is to "see"; maybe to see the big picture in life.

  6. "Wissaz" reminds me of "wise ass." I think it's probably self-explanatory as to why I would see that in it.

  7. Kate wins the comments today. What she said.

  8. Now I'm procrastinating writing while I'm thinking about how to use wise as a noun. Like clockwise or.... Why do you do this to me?

    Susan Says

  9. Cool! Not to be a wiseass, but... the word wissaz really made me wonder if that was responsible for the formation of that term. Thoughts?

  10. Another one that makes sense :) I wish more politicians had wisdom rather than wanting to line their pockets.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)


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