• synonyms


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.
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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

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

Examples from the Web for wielder

Historical Examples of wielder

  • Thor was the wielder of the mighty hammer, made for him by the dwarfs.

    Richard Wagner His Life and His Dramas

    W. J. Henderson

  • Here again the woman is the wielder of the power, and not the man.


    James Huneker

  • Finally those on the edge of the multitude discovered the wielder of the ax.

    West Wind Drift

    George Barr McCutcheon

  • But the wrist of its wielder was grasped with a grip as of iron.

  • He had seen what execution its wielder could do, wherefore he pulled up sharp.

British Dictionary definitions for wielder


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



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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper