W

waffle: (noun) Kind of honeycombed batter cake made in a iron. From Dutch “wafel”=wafer. Related to Old High German “waba”=honeycomb.

waffle: (verb) To talk on and on about trivia. Originally to yelp like a dog (c17th). From sound of a dog barking or yelping – “waff.”

waltz: Slow dance with a regular pattern of three beats. From Old High German “walzan”=to turn or roll.

wampum: North American slang for money. From Algonquian “wampumpeag” < “wampampiak”=white beads < “wamp”=white + “ampi”=beads.

wander: To move aimlessly around with no fixed course. From Old English “wandrian”=to roam, ramble, go idly or restlessly about.

wane: To decrease or make smaller. Or to fail. From Old English “wanian”=make or become smaller gradually.

war: Fighting between people or nations. From late Old English “werre” < medieval Latin “werra/guerra”=discord or strife.

wary: Given to caution; being careful. Middle English “ware” < Old English “waer” = prudent, alert ?< Latin “vereri”=to fear.

watchful: Vigilant, observant, on alert. From Old English “waccian”=to stay awake + “ful”=suffix meaning “full of.”

wax: (a) Semi-solid substance secreted by bees to make a honeycomb; (b) to increase. From Old English “weaxan”=to grow.

wayfarer: One who travels by foot or on the road. Old English “weg”=move, journey + “faran”=travel + “-er”=suffix indicating a person.

wealthy: Possessing an abundance of a resource. From Middle English “wele”=well-being + “-y”=having the quality of.

web: Sticky lattice of thread spun by spiders or membrane between aquatic birds’ toes. From Old English “webb”=woven fabric.

Wednesday: Day of the week. From Old English “Wodnesdaeg”=”Woden’s Day.” “Woden” < Odin, Norse supreme god.

weird: strange or extraordinary; also something supernatural. From Old English “wyrd”=fate or destiny.

weep: To shed tears due to extreme emotions. From Old English “wepan”=shed tears, cry.

whiskey: Alcoholic drink from distilled grain. From Gaelic “uisge beatha “=water of life < Old Irish “uisce”=water+”bethu”=life.

wicked: Behaving on a way morally wrong; modern slang use meaning “good.” From Old English “wicca”=wizard.

widdershins: Scottish dialect for “against the way” or “counterclockwise.” From Old High German “widar”=against + “sinnen”=to travel.

win: To be victorious in an endeavor; to succeed over others. From Old English “winnan”=obtain, acquire and “gewinnan”=gain by a struggle.

wince: Draw back, as with fear or pain. Old French “guenchier”=to turn aside.

wind: The natural movement of a planet’s air from regions of high to low pressure. From Old English “wind”=moving air, blowing.

wine: Drink made from fermented grapes. From Old English “win,” borrowed from Latin “vinum”=of the vine.

wish: Want something to be true even though it is either impossible or unlikely. From Old English “wyscan”=to hold dear or desire.

wonderland: A place of marvelous things. From Old English “wunder”=a person, thing, or event that causes astonishment and admiration.

wretched: Feeling miserable, dejected, degraded. Old English “wrecca”=an exile, hence sad + “-ed”=adjectival suffix meaning “one who is.”