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witan

[wit-n, -ahn]
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noun Early English History.
  1. the members of the national council or witenagemot.
  2. (used with a singular verb) the witenagemot.
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Origin of witan

1800–10; Modern English < Old English, plural of wita one who knows, councilor; akin to wit2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for witan

Historical Examples

  • Their power in the national assembly of the Witan had decided the choice of kings.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • But it was absolutely necessary to prove them before the Witan 293.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • But not a word is said as to any inadequate number in the Witan.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • He, too, first took refuge in the Weald when deposed by his witan.

  • Then they too yielded, and the Witan of all England took Swegen as their king.


British Dictionary definitions for witan

witan

noun (in Anglo-Saxon England)
  1. an assembly of higher ecclesiastics and important laymen, including king's thegns, that met to counsel the king on matters such as judicial problems
  2. the members of this assembly
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Also: witenagemot

Word Origin

Old English witan, plural of wita wise man; see wit ², witness
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