wold (n.)
Old English wald (Anglian), weald (West Saxon, Kentish) "forest, wooded upland," from Proto-Germanic *walthuz (cognates: Old Saxon and Old Frisian wald, Middle Dutch woude, wold, Dutch woud, Middle Low German walde, Old High German wald, German Wald "forest," Swedish vall "pasture," Old Norse völlr "soil, field, meadow"), from PIE root *welt- "woods; wild." The sense development from "forested upland" to "rolling open country" (c.1200) perhaps is from Scandinavian influence, or a testimony to the historical deforestation of Britain. Not current since mid-16c.; survives mainly in place names (such as Cotswold).
wolf (n.)
Old English wulf "wolf, wolfish person, devil," from Proto-Germanic *wulfaz (cognates: Old Saxon wulf, Old Norse ulfr, Old Frisian, Dutch, Old High German, German wolf, Gothic wulfs), from PIE root *wlkwo- "wolf" (cognates: Sanskrit vrkas, Avestan vehrka-; Albanian ul'k; Old Church Slavonic vluku; Russian volcica; Lithuanian vilkas "wolf;" Old Persian Varkana- "Hyrcania," district southeast of the Caspian Sea, literally "wolf-land;" probably also Greek lykos, Latin lupus).
This manne can litle skyl ... to saue himself harmlesse from the perilous accidentes of this world, keping ye wulf from the doore (as they cal it). ["The Institution of a Gentleman," 1555]
Probably extinct in England from the end of the 15th century; in Scotland from the early 18th. Wolves as a symbol of lust are ancient, such as Roman slang lupa "whore," literally "she-wolf" (preserved in Spanish loba, Italian lupa, French louve). The equation of "wolf" and "prostitute, sexually voracious female" persisted into 12c., but by Elizabethan times wolves had become primarily symbolic of male lust. The specific use of wolf for "sexually aggressive male" first recorded 1847; wolf-whistle attested by 1945, American English, at first associated with sailors. The image of a wolf in sheep's skin is attested from c.1400. See here for a discussion of "wolf" in Indo-European history. The wolf-spider so called for prowling and leaping on its prey rather than waiting in a web.
wolf (v.)
"eat like a wolf," 1862, from wolf (n.). Related: Wolfed; wolfing.
wolfhound (n.)
also wolf-hound, 1799, from wolf (n.) + hound (n.).
wolfish (adj.)
1560s, from wolf (n.) + -ish. Earlier form was wolvish (early 15c.). Related: Wolfishly; wolfishness.
wolfram (n.)
1757, from German Wolfram, wolform "iron tungstate" (1562), of obscure etymology. It looks like "wolf-cream" (from rahm "cream"), but the second element might be Middle High German ram (German Rahm) "dirty mark, soot;" if so, perhaps "so called in sign of contempt because it was regarded of lesser value than tin and caused a considerable loss of tin during the smelting process in the furnace" [Klein]. Or perhaps the word is originally a personal name, "wolf-raven."
wolfsbane (n.)
"aconite" (especially Aconitum lycoctonum), a somewhat poisonous plant, 1540s, from wolf + bane; a translation of Latin lycoctonum, from Greek lykotonon, from lykos "wolf" + base of kteinein "to kill." Also known dialectally as badger's bane, hare's bane, bear's bane.
Wolof (n.)
African people of Senegal and Gambia. Also the name of the Niger-Congo language they speak.
wolverine (n.)
carnivorous mammal, 1610s, alteration of wolvering (1570s), of uncertain origin, possibly from wolv-, inflectional stem of wolf (n.); or perhaps from wolver "one who behaves like a wolf" (1590s).
woman (n.)
"adult female human," late Old English wimman, wiman (plural wimmen), literally "woman-man," alteration of wifman (plural wifmen) "woman, female servant" (8c.), a compound of wif "woman" (see wife) + man "human being" (in Old English used in reference to both sexes; see man (n.)). Compare Dutch vrouwmens "wife," literally "woman-man."
It is notable that it was thought necessary to join wif, a neuter noun, representing a female person, to man, a masc. noun representing either a male or female person, to form a word denoting a female person exclusively. [Century Dictionary]
The formation is peculiar to English and Dutch. Replaced older Old English wif and quean as the word for "female human being." The pronunciation of the singular altered in Middle English by the rounding influence of -w-; the plural retains the original vowel. Meaning "wife," now largely restricted to U.S. dialectal use, is attested from mid-15c. Woman-hater "misogynist" is from c.1600. Women's work is from 1660s. Women's liberation is attested from 1966; women's rights is from 1840, with an isolated example in 1630s.
womanhood (n.)
late 14c., "condition of being a woman," also "qualities or characteristics considered natural to a woman," from woman + -hood. Meaning "women collectively" is attested from 1520s.
womanise (n.)
chiefly British English spelling of womanize. Related: Womanized; womanizing; womanizer.
womanish (adj.)
late 14c., "womanly, feminine; resembling a woman;" of a man or men, "behaving in the manner of a woman, effeminate," from woman + -ish. Related: Womanishly; womanishness.
womanize (v.)
1590s, "to make effeminate," from woman + -ize. Sense of "to chase women, to go wenching" is attested from 1893. Related: Womanized; womanizer; womanizing.
womankind (n.)
late 14c., from woman (n.) + kind (n.).
womanly (adj.)
c.1200, of a man, "wanton, lascivious;" late 14c. of a woman, "feminine," of qualities, "proper to a woman;" from woman + -ly (1). From c.1400 of men with the sense "effeminate, weak." Related: Womanliness.
womb (n.)
Old English wamb, womb "belly, bowels, heart, uterus," from Proto-Germanic *wambo (cognates: Old Norse vomb, Old Frisian wambe, Middle Dutch wamme, Dutch wam, Old High German wamba, German Wamme "belly, paunch," Gothic wamba "belly, womb," Old English umbor "child"), of unknown origin.
wombat (n.)
marsupial mammal of Australia, 1798, from aboriginal Australian womback, wombar.
women
plural of woman (q.v.).
won
past tense and past participle of win (v.).
won't
contraction of will not, first recorded mid-15c. as wynnot, later wonnot (1580s) before the modern form emerged 1660s. See will.
wonder (n.)
Old English wundor "marvelous thing, miracle, object of astonishment," from Proto-Germanic *wundran (cognates: Old Saxon wundar, Middle Dutch, Dutch wonder, Old High German wuntar, German wunder, Old Norse undr), of unknown origin. In Middle English it also came to mean the emotion associated with such a sight (late 13c.). To be no wonder was in Old English. The original wonder drug (1939) was Sulfanilamide.
wonder (v.)
Old English wundrian "be astonished," also "admire; make wonderful, magnify," from the source of wonder (n.). Cognate with Dutch wonderen, Old High German wuntaron, German wundern. Sense of "entertain some doubt or curiosity" is late 13c. Related: Wondered; wondering.

Reflexive use (It wonders me that "I wonder why ...") was common in Middle English and as late as Tindale (1533), and is said to survive in Yorkshire/Lincolnshire. In Pennsylvania German areas it is idiomatic from German das wundert mich.
wonder woman (n.)
1917, a woman who seems wonderful or has wonderful qualities, from wonder (n.) + woman. The comic book superheroine debuted in DC Comics in 1941.
wonder-worker (n.)
1590s, from wonder (n.) + worker, translating Greek thaumatourgos. Old English had wundorweorc "miracle."
wonderful (adj.)
late Old English wunderfoll; see wonder (n.) + -ful. Related: Wonderfully.
wonderland (n.)
"imaginary realm," 1787, from wonder (n.) + land (n.).
wonderment (n.)
1530s, from wonder (n.) + -ment.
wonderous (adj.)
see wondrous.
wondrous (adj.)
c.1500, from Middle English wonders (adj.), early 14c., originally genitive of wonder (n.), with suffix altered by influence of marvelous, etc. As an adverb from 1550s. Related: Wondrously; wondrousness.
wonk (n.)
"overly studious person," 1962, earlier "effeminate male" (1954), American English student slang. Perhaps a shortening of British slang wonky "shaky, unreliable," or a variant of British slang wanker "masturbator." It seemed to rise into currency as a synonym for nerd late 1980s from Ivy League slang and was widely popularized 1993 during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Tom Wolfe (1988) described it as "an Eastern prep-school term referring to all those who do not have the 'honk' voice, i.e., all who are non-aristocratic."
wonky (adj.)
"shaky, groggy, unstable," 1919, of unknown origin. German prefix wankel- has a similar sense. Perhaps from surviving dialectal words based on Old English wancol "shaky, tottering" (see wench (n.)).
wont (adj.)
"accustomed," Middle English contraction of Old English wunod, past participle of wunian "to dwell, inhabit, exist; be accustomed, be used to," from Proto-Germanic *wunen "to be content, to rejoice" (cognates: Old Saxon wunon, Old Frisian wonia "to dwell, remain, be used to," Old High German wonen, German wohnen "to dwell;" related to Old English winnan, gewinnan "to win" (see win (v.)) and to wean; from PIE *wen- (1) "strive for, desire." The original meaning of the Germanic verbs was "be content, rejoice."
wont (n.)
"habitual usage, custom," c.1400, from wont, adjective and verb.
wonted (adj.)
"accustomed, usual," c.1400, adjectival formation from wont. An unconscious double past participle.
wonton (n.)
also won ton, 1948, from Cantonese wan t'an, Mandarin hun tun "stuffed dumpling."
woo (v.)
Old English wogian "to woo, court, marry," of uncertain origin and with no known cognates; perhaps related to woh, wog- "bent, inclined," as with affection. Related: Wooed; wooing; wooer.
wood (n.)
Old English wudu, earlier widu "tree, trees collectively, forest, grove; the substance of which trees are made," from Proto-Germanic *widu- (cognates: Old Norse viðr, Danish and Swedish ved "tree, wood," Old High German witu "wood"), from PIE *widhu- "tree, wood" (cognates: Welsh gwydd "trees," Gaelic fiodh- "wood, timber," Old Irish fid "tree, wood"). Out of the woods "safe" is from 1792.
wood (adj.)
"violently insane" (now obsolete), from Old English wod "mad, frenzied," from Proto-Germanic *woda- (cognates: Gothic woþs "possessed, mad," Old High German wuot "mad, madness," German wut "rage, fury"), from PIE *wet- (1) "to blow; inspire, spiritually arouse;" source of Latin vates "seer, poet," Old Irish faith "poet;" "with a common element of mental excitement" [Buck]. Compare Old English woþ "sound, melody, song," Old Norse oðr "poetry," and the god-name Odin.
woodbine (n.)
Old English wudubinde, a climbing plant, from wudu "wood" (see wood (n.)) + binde "wreath," related to bind (v.). Used of various climbing plants on three continents.
woodchuck (n.)
1670s, alteration (influenced by wood (n.)) of Cree (Algonquian) otchek or Ojibwa otchig, "marten," the name subsequently transferred to the groundhog.
woodcock (n.)
Old English wuducoc, from wudu (see wood (n.)) + coc (see cock (n.1)).
woodcut (n.)
"engraving on wood, or a print made from one," 1660s, from wood (n.) + cut (n.).
wooded (adj.)
"covered with growing trees," c.1600, from wood (n.).
wooden (adj.)
1530s, from wood (n.) + -en (2). Figurative use by 1560s. Wooden nickel "counterfeit coin, worthless token" is from 1916, American English. Related: Woodenly; woodenness.
woodland (n.)
Old English wudulond; see wood (n.) + land (n.). As an adjective from mid-14c.
woodlouse (n.)
also wood-louse, 1610s, from wood (n.) + louse (n.). So called from being found in old wood.
woodpecker (n.)
1520s, from wood (n.) + pecker.
woodshed (n.)
"shed for keeping wood as fuel," 1799, from wood (n.) + shed (n.). Sometimes a euphemism for "outhouse." Figuratively, as the place for private punishment, by 1907, American English colloquial.
woodsman (n.)
1680s, from woods (see wood (n.)) + man (n.). Earlier was woodman (early 15c.).