From Middle English wenden, from Old English wendan (“to turn, direct, wend one’s way, go, return, change, alter, vary, restore, happen, convert, translate”), from Proto-Germanic *wandijaną (“to turn”), causative of Proto-Germanic *windaną (“to wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *wendʰ- (“to turn, wind, braid”). Cognate with Dutch wenden (“to turn”), German wenden (“to turn, reverse”), Danish vende (“to turn”), Norwegian Bokmål vende (“to turn”), Norwegian Nynorsk venda (“to turn”), Swedish vända (“to turn, turn over, veer, direct”), Icelandic venda (“to wend, turn, change”), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌾𐌰𐌽 (wandjan, “to cause to turn”). Related to wind (Etymology 2).
- (transitive, obsolete) To turn; change.
- (transitive) To direct (one's way or course); pursue one's way; proceed upon some course or way.
- We wended our weary way westward.
- 1557 July 1, Virgil, “The Fowrth Boke of Virgiles Aenæis”, in Henry [Howard, Earl] of Surrey, transl.; William Bolland, editor, Certain Bokes of Virgiles Aenaeis, Turned into English Meter ([Roxburghe Club Publications; I]), London: […] A[braham] J[ohn] Valpy, […], published 1814, OCLC 940064673:
- And ſtill her thought that ſhe was left alone / Uncompanied great viages to wende.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To turn; make a turn; go round; veer.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Raleigh to this entry?)
- (intransitive, obsolete) To pass away; disappear; depart; vanish.
The modern past tense of wend is wended. Originally it was went, similarly to pairs such as send/sent, spend/spent, lend/lent, rend/rent, or blend/blent. However, went was co-opted as the past tense of go (replacing Early Modern English yede, Middle English yeed, Old English eode) and using it as the past tense of wend is now considered archaic.
wend (plural wends)
- (obsolete, Britain, law) A large extent of ground; a perambulation; a circuit.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)
- wend in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- “wend” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.
- “wend” in Patuzzi, Umberto, ed., (2013) Ünsarne Börtar [Our Words], Luserna, Italy: Comitato unitario delle linguistiche storiche germaniche in Italia / Einheitskomitee der historischen deutschen Sprachinseln in Italien