- wussy (n.)
- 1960s, probably an alteration of pussy (n.2). DAS suggests shortened from hypothetical pussy-wussy, reduplicated form of pussy (n.1).
- wuthering (adj.)
- "making a sullen roar" (as the wind does), Northern England dialectal variant of Scottish and dialectal whithering "rushing, whizzing, blustering," from a verb whither (late 14c.) which was used in reference to gusts of wind and coughing fits, from Old Norse *hviðra (related to Norwegian kvidra "to go quickly to and fro," Old English hwiþa "air, breeze").
Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed, in stormy weather. [Emily Brontë, "Wuthering Heights," 1847]
Charlotte also used forms of the word in her novels.
- wyandotte (n.)
- type of hen, 1884, from Wyandot, name of an Iroquoian people (1749) and their language, from French Ouendat, perhaps from Huron wendat "forest" or yandata "village," or from the people's self-designation wedat, which is perhaps a shortening of a longer form akin to Mohawk skawe:nat "one language."
- see witch hazel.
- wynn (n.)
- runic letter in Old English and early Middle English, representing "w," Old English wyn, so called for being the first letter of that word, which literally means "delight, pleasure" (see Venus).
- region in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from Munsee Delaware (Algonquian) chwewamink "at the big river flat," from /xw-/ "big" + /-e:wam-/ "river flat" + /-enk/ "place." Popularized by 1809 poem "Gertrude of Wyoming," set amid wars between Indians and American settlers, written by Scottish author Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), who seems to have had a vague or defective notion of Pennsylvania geography:
On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
et cetera. Subsequently applied 19c. to other locations (in Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin), and to a western territory organized July 25, 1868 (admitted as a state 1890).
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!
On the same day there was debate in the Senate over the name for the new Territory. Territories often keep their names when they become States, so we may be glad that "Cheyenne," to be pronounced "Shy-en," was not adopted. "Lincoln" was rejected for an obvious and, no doubt, sound reason. Apparently, nobody had a better name to offer, though there must be plenty of Indian words that could properly be used, and, for the present, the insignificant "Wyoming" is retained. ["The Nation," June 11, 1868]
- see weird.
- 1982, computer programmer's acronym from what you see is what you get.
- wyvern (n.)
- c. 1600, formed (with unetymological -n) from Middle English wyver (c. 1300), from Anglo-French wivre, from Old North French form of Old French guivre "snake," from Latin vipera "viper" (see viper). In heraldry, a winged dragon with eagle's feet and a serpent's barbed tail.