Oct 7 2012, 5:43pm
O.E. wiht "living being, creature," from P.Gmc. *wekhtiz (cf. O.S. wiht "thing, demon," Du. wicht "a little child," O.H.G. wiht "thing, creature, demon," Ger. Wicht "creature, infant," O.N. vettr "thing, creature," Swed. vätte "spirit of the earth, gnome," Goth. waihts "something"). The only apparent cognate outside Gmc. is O.C.S. vešti "a thing." Not related to the Isle of Wight, which is from L. Vectis (c.150), originally Celtic, possibly meaning "place of the division."
Wight is a Middle English word, from Old English wiht, and used to describe a creature or living sentient being. It is akin to Old High German wiht, meaning a creature or thing.
In its original usage the word wight described a living human being. More recently, the word has been used within the fantasy genre of literature to describe undead or wraith-like creatures: corpses with a part of their decayed soul still in residence, often draining life from their victims. Notable examples of this include the undead Barrow-wights from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and the wights of Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.
The English word is cognate with other Germanic words such as Dutch wicht, German Wicht, Old Norse vćttir, Swedish vätte, Danish vćtte. Modern High German Wicht means 'small person, dwarf,' and also 'unpleasant person,' while in Low German the word means 'girl.' The Wicht, Wichtel or Wichtelchen of Germanic folklore is most commonly translated into English as an imp, a small, shy character who often does helpful domestic chores when nobody is looking (as in the Tale of the Cobbler's Shoes). These terms are not related to the English word witch. In Scandinavian folklore, too, wights are elusive creatures not unlike elves, capable of mischief as well as of help. In German and Dutch language the word Bösewicht or Booswicht points out an evildoer, "Bösewichte haben keine Lieder" means they (do not make merry) are unpleasant folk.
also see: http://onelook.com/?w=wight&ls=a
O.E. wryhta, wrihta "worker" (Northumbrian wyrchta, Kentish werhta), variant of earlier wyhrta, from wyrcan "to work" (see work). Now usually in combinations (wheelwright, playwright, etc.) or as a common surname. Common West Germanic; cf. O.S. wurhito, O.Fris. wrichta, O.H.G. wurhto.
Old English wyrhta, from West Germanic *wurhtjo (as in Proto-Germanic *wurkijanan), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (“to work”) (English work). Cognate with English wrought.
wright (plural wrights)
(obsolete) A builder or creator of something.
also see: http://onelook.com/?w=wright&ls=a
I will admit, I found myself a little confused when I saw 'wright' being discussed alongside of 'wight' but I hadn't read every post so I thought I might have missed something.
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