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Wist vs Wis - What's the difference?

wist | wis |

As verbs the difference between wist and wis

is that wist is (archaic) (wit) or wist can be (nonstandard|pseudo-archaic) to know, be aware of while wis is (obsolete|or|archaic) to know.

As an adverb wis is

(rare|obsolete|or|dialectal) certainly, surely.

As an adjective wis is

(rare|obsolete|or|dialectal) certain.



Etymology 1

Past indicative of (m): from (etyl) (m), from (etyl) . Compare (m).


  • (archaic) (wit)
  • * a''1796 , , "Bonie Jean: A Ballad", in ''Poems and Songs , P.F. Collier & Son (1909–14), Bartleby.com (2001), [http://www.bartleby.com/6/419.html],
  • And lang ere witless Jeanie wist , / Her heart was tint, her peace was stown!

    Etymology 2

    A misunderstanding, or a joking use of the past indicative of (m): from (etyl) (m), from (etyl) . Compare (m).


    (en verb)
  • (nonstandard, pseudo-archaic) To know, be aware of.
  • Usage notes
    * (rft-sense) This use of wist was never a part of the regular English language; rather, it resulted from the erroneous attempted use of archaisms.



    Alternative forms

    * wiss, ywis, iwis

    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) . More at ywis.


    (en adverb)
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Certainly, surely
  • * 1884 , Charlotte Mary Yonge, The armourer's prentices :
  • So I wis would the Dragon under him [...]
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Really, truly
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Indeed
  • "As wis God helpe me." --Chaucer.


    (en adjective)
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Certain
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Sure
  • He was wis on his word
    Derived terms
    * (l)

    Etymology 2

    From an incorrect division, mistaking . See ywis for more information. The German verb wissen'' appears similar, but in fact corresponds etymologically to the English verb ''wit ; both of those verbs are only indirectly related to this one.


  • (obsolete, or, archaic) To know.
  • (obsolete, or, archaic) To think, suppose.
  • "Howe'er you wis ." --R. Browning.
  • (obsolete, or, archaic) To imagine, ween; to deem.
  • Nor do I know how long it is (For I have lain entranced, I wis ). --Coleridge.