etymology: witch

I’m giving this feature about witchy etymology (history of a word) a shot again, this time with the actual word “witch!”

  • in the OED, has uncertain origin
  • probably from old english “wicce” which means female magician/sorceress
  • more specific kind of magical craft practiced by women than later general definitions
  • later meant “ a woman supposed to have dealings with the devil or evil spirits and to be able by their cooperation to perform supernatural acts “
  • possibly connected with Old English word “wigle” meaning “divination”
  • could also come from  Proto-Germanic wikkjaz “necromancer”
  • in 1601, phrase “men-witches” and “he-witch” started being used because the feminine meaning was so widespread


dark witch (1)

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