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.
Origin of wit2
Examples from the Web for wist
Historical Examples of wist
"I wist I had a velehorsipede," he whispered, with a pensive air.
When Sir Bors saw that he must fight with his brother or else die, he wist not what to do.
When the king was dead, all the city was dismayed, and wist not who might be their king.
When Sir Launcelot heard this he was passing heavy, and wist not what to do.
He wist not whom he smote, so blind was his rage to get to the queen at the stake.'King Arthur's Knights
Word Origin for wit
Word Origin for wit
"to know" (archaic), c.1500, from Old English past tense of witan "to know" (cf. German wusste, past tense of wissen "to know"); see wit. Had-I-wiste was used c.1400-1550 in sense "regret for something done rashly or heedlessly;" see wist. Proverbial in expression Had-I-wiste cometh ever too late.
Haddywyst comyth euer to late Whan lewyd woordis beth owte y-spronge. ["Commonplace book" in Trinity College, Cambridge, c.1500]
"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"]
"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.).
see at one's wit's end; have one's wits about one; live by one's wits; scare out of one's wits; to wit.