Wit \Wit\ (w[i^]t), v. t. & i. [inf. (To) Wit; pres. sing. Wot; pl. Wite; imp. Wist(e); p. p. Wist; p. pr. & vb. n. Wit(t)ing. See the Note below.] [OE. witen, pres. ich wot, wat, I know (wot), imp. wiste, AS. witan, pres. w[=a]t, imp. wiste, wisse; akin to OFries. wita, OS. witan, D. weten, G. wissen, OHG. wizzan, Icel. vita, Sw. veta, Dan. vide, Goth. witan to observe, wait I know, Russ. vidiete to see, L. videre, Gr. ?, Skr. vid to know, learn; cf. Skr. vid to find. ????. Cf. History, Idea, Idol, -oid, Twit, Veda, Vision, Wise, a. & n., Wot.] To know; to learn. "I wot and wist alway." --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] Note: The present tense was inflected as follows; sing. 1st pers. wot; 2d pers. wost, or wot(t)est; 3d pers. wot, or wot(t)eth; pl. witen, or wite. The following variant forms also occur; pres. sing. 1st & 3d pers. wat, woot; pres. pl. wyten, or wyte, weete, wote, wot; imp. wuste (Southern dialect); p. pr. wotting. Later, other variant or corrupt forms are found, as, in Shakespeare, 3d pers. sing. pres. wots. [1913 Webster] Brethren, we do you to wit [make you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. --2 Cor. viii.
[1913 Webster] Thou wost full little what thou meanest. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] We witen not what thing we prayen here. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] When that the sooth in wist. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Note: This verb is now used only in the infinitive, to wit, which is employed, especially in legal language, to call attention to a particular thing, or to a more particular specification of what has preceded, and is equivalent to namely, that is to say. [1913 Webster]
- This use of wist was never a part of the regular English language; rather, it resulted from the erroneous attempted use of archaisms.