- (in Anglo-Saxon law)
- a fine imposed by a king or lord on a subject who committed a serious crime.
- a fee demanded for granting a special privilege.
- Chiefly Scot. responsibility for a crime, fault, or misfortune; blame.
- Chiefly Scot. to blame for; declare guilty of.
Origin of wite1
- a present plural of wit2.
- Archaic. to know.
- to wit, that is to say; namely: It was the time of the vernal equinox, to wit, the beginning of spring.
Origin of wit2
Examples from the Web for wite
Historical Examples of wite
If you commit an act of violence you must pay a wite to the king.Domesday Book and Beyond
Frederic William Maitland
"To wite" is to blame; "I me wreke" is "I revenge myself;" and "tho" is then.The Works of Alexander Pope, Volume 1
You just wite till you see the ballet at Vere Street, Lambeth—we'll knock 'em!'Liza of Lambeth
W. Somerset Maugham
Bi nu wslicor t gehwa is wite and cunne his geleafan, weald hwa a micclan yrme gebidan sceole.
Se mann e for gylpe hwt to gde de, him sylfum to herunge, nf he s nane mede t Gode, ac hf his wite.
- the talent or quality of using unexpected associations between contrasting or disparate words or ideas to make a clever humorous effect
- speech or writing showing this quality
- a person possessing, showing, or noted for such an ability, esp in repartee
- practical intelligence (esp in the phrase have the wit to)
- Scot and Northern English dialect information or knowledge (esp in the phrase get wit of)
- archaic mental capacity or a person possessing it
- obsolete the mind or memory
Word Origin for wit
- archaic to be or become aware of (something)
- to wit that is to say; namely (used to introduce statements, as in legal documents)
Word Origin for wit
Word Origin and History for wite
"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.).
Idioms and Phrases with wite
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.