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wit2

[wit]
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verb (used with or without object), present singular 1st person wot, 2nd wost, 3rd wot, present plural wit or wite; past and past participle wist; present participle wit·ting.
  1. Archaic. to know.
Idioms
  1. to wit, that is to say; namely: It was the time of the vernal equinox, to wit, the beginning of spring.

Origin of wit2

before 900; Middle English witen, Old English witan; cognate with Dutch weten, German wissen, Old Norse vita, Gothic witan to know; akin to Latin vidēre, Greek ideîn to see, Sanskrit vidati (he) knows. See wot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for to wit

wit1

noun
  1. the talent or quality of using unexpected associations between contrasting or disparate words or ideas to make a clever humorous effect
  2. speech or writing showing this quality
  3. a person possessing, showing, or noted for such an ability, esp in repartee
  4. practical intelligence (esp in the phrase have the wit to)
  5. Scot and Northern English dialect information or knowledge (esp in the phrase get wit of)
  6. archaic mental capacity or a person possessing it
  7. obsolete the mind or memory
See also wits

Word Origin

Old English witt; related to Old Saxon giwitt, Old High German wizzi (German Witz), Old Norse vit, Gothic witi. See wit ²

wit2

verb
  1. archaic to be or become aware of (something)
adverb
  1. to wit that is to say; namely (used to introduce statements, as in legal documents)

Word Origin

Old English witan; related to Old High German wizzan (German wissen), Old Norse vita, Latin vidēre to see
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for to wit

wit

n.

"mental capacity," Old English wit, more commonly gewit, from Proto-Germanic *witjan (cf. Old Saxon wit, Old Norse vit, Danish vid, Swedish vett, Old Frisian wit, Old High German wizzi "knowledge, understanding, intelligence, mind," German Witz "wit, witticism, joke," Gothic unwiti "ignorance"), from PIE *woid-/*weid-/*wid- "to see," metaphorically "to know" (see vision). Related to Old English witan "to know" (source of wit (v.)). Meaning "ability to make clever remarks in an amusing way" is first recorded 1540s; that of "person of wit or learning" is from late 15c. For nuances of usage, see humor.

A witty saying proves nothing. [Voltaire, Diner du Comte de Boulainvilliers]



Wit ought to be five or six degrees above the ideas that form the intelligence of an audience. [Stendhal, "Life of Henry Brulard"]

wit

v.

"know," Old English witan "to know," from Proto-Germanic *witanan "to have seen," hence "to know" (cf. Old Saxon witan, Old Norse vita, Old Frisian wita, Middle Dutch, Dutch weten, Old High German wizzan, German wissen, Gothic witan "to know"); see wit (n.). The phrase to wit, almost the only surviving use of the verb, is first recorded 1570s, from earlier that is to wit (mid-14c.), probably a loan-translation of Anglo-French cestasavoir, used to render Latin videlicet (see viz.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with to wit

to wit

That is to say, namely, as in There are three good reasons for not going, to wit, we don't want to, we don't have to, and we can't get a reservation. This expression comes from the now archaic verb to wit, meaning “know or be aware of,” not heard except in this usage. [Late 1500s]

wit

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.