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verb (used with object)
  1. to exercise (power, authority, influence, etc.), as in ruling or dominating.
  2. to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.
  3. Archaic. to guide or direct.
  4. Archaic. to govern; manage.

Origin of wield

before 900; Middle English welden, Old English wieldan to control, derivative of wealdan to rule; cognate with German walten, Old Norse valda, Gothic waldan; akin to Latin valēre to be strong, prevail
Related formswield·a·ble, adjectivewield·er, nounun·wield·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedweald wield

Synonyms for wield

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wielded

Contemporary Examples of wielded

Historical Examples of wielded

  • His influence had thus far been wielded only to secure his own position.

  • Only imagine, then, what the weapon becomes when wielded by the really wicked.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

  • Hugh wielded the scythe the whole of the harvest, and Margaret gathered to him.

    David Elginbrod

    George MacDonald

  • He received two hundred lashes with whips, wielded by two Lamas.

    In the Forbidden Land

    Arnold Henry Savage Landor

  • Natural affection was the sword, and God's the arm that wielded it.


    Martin Farquhar Tupper

British Dictionary definitions for wielded


verb (tr)
  1. to handle or use (a weapon, tool, etc)
  2. to exert or maintain (power or authority)
  3. obsolete to rule
Derived Formswieldable, adjectivewielder, noun

Word Origin for wield

Old English wieldan, wealdan; related to Old Norse valda, Old Saxon waldan, German walten, Latin valēre to be strong
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 wielded



Old English weldan (Mercian), wieldan, wealdan (West Saxon) "to govern, possess, have control over" (class VII strong verb; past tense weold, past participle gewealden), merged with weak verb wyldan, both from Proto-Germanic *wal-t- (cf. Old Saxon and Gothic waldan, Old Frisian walda "to govern, rule," Old Norse valda "to rule, wield, to cause," Old High German waltan, German walten "to rule, govern").

The Germanic words probably are from PIE *waldh- (cf. Old Church Slavonic vlado "to rule," vlasti "power;" Lithuanian veldu "to rule, possess"), from root *wal- "to be strong, to rule" (see valiant).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper