(Modern English )


Adv. use of the ME adj. witter, see weterly (adv.) for full discussion.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

 vitr (adj.) ‘wise’, cp. vitrliga (adv.) ‘wisely, with wisdom’
(ONP vitr (adj.), cp. vitrliga (adv.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far vitur, Ice vitur, ODan witær, OSw viter, Sw vitter

OE Cognate

cp. witran (v.) 'verare, to speak the truth'; wita (n.) ‘wise man’, witan (v.) ‘to know’

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



The adj. is first attested in late OE (see Hofmann §386, Peters 98, SPS); it is attested in the SWM in early ME (LB, AW), but in the later period it is mainly N/EM. This is MED's only citation of the adv. in this form, but weterly (adv.) is relatively widespread in early ME, though thereafter esp. frequent in alliterative texts (inc. PP).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Cl 1552

OED identifies the instance at Cl 1552 with the v. instead (see witter v.1), but the line makes better sense if it is taken as an adv. (as all others do).


MED witter (adj.) ; see further weterly (adv.).