from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- v. First and third person singular past indicative of be. See Regional Note at you-uns.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. First-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
- v. Third-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
- v. Second-person singular simple past tense indicative of be.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- The first and third persons singular of the verb be, in the indicative mood, preterit (imperfect) tense.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- A verb-form used to supply the past tense of the verb be: as, I was, thou wast or wert, he was; we, you, or they were. In the subjunctive, I were, thou wert, he were; we, you, they were, etc.
- The forms wast and wert in the second person singular of the indicative (cf. Icel. vert), and wert in the second person singular of the subjunctive, are modern, being conformed to the model of art. The older form of the second person singular in both moods is were. The ungrammatical combination you was became common in the eighteenth century, but is now condemned.
Middle English, from Old English wæs; see wes-1 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English wæs, from Proto-Germanic *was, (identical to Low German was, cognate with German war), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wes- (“to reside”). The paradigm of "to be" has been since the time of Proto-Germanic a synthesis of three originally distinct verb stems. The infinitive form be is from Proto-Indo-European *bʰew- (“to become”). The words is and are are both derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (“to be”). Lastly, the past forms starting with w- such as was and were are from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wes- (“to reside”). (Wiktionary)