Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Obsolete A living being; a creature.
  • adj. Archaic Valorous; brave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Brave, valorous, strong.
  • adj. Strong; stout; active.
  • n. A living creature, especially a human being.
  • n. A being of one of the Nine Worlds of heathen belief, especially a nature spirit, elf or ancestor.
  • n. A ghost or other supernatural entity.
  • n. A wraith-like creature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Swift; nimble; agile; strong and active.
  • n. Weight.
  • n. A whit; a bit; a jot.
  • n. A supernatural being.
  • n. A human being; a person, either male or female; -- now used chiefly in irony or burlesque, or in humorous language.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having warlike prowess; valiant; courageous; strong and active; agile; nimble; swift.
  • n. A person, whether male or female; a human being: as, an unlucky wight.
  • n. A preternatural, unearthly, or uncanny creature; an elf, sprite, witch, or the like.
  • n. A space of time; a whit; a while.
  • n. A Middle English form of weight.
  • n. See wite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an isle and county of southern England in the English Channel
  • n. a human being; `wight' is an archaic term

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English wiht; see wekti- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old Norse vīgt, neuter of vīgr, able to fight; see weik-3 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English wiht ("wight, person, creature, being, whit, thing, something, anything"), from Proto-Germanic *wihtiz (“essence, object”), from Proto-Indo-European *wekti- (“cause, sake, thing”), from Proto-Indo-European *wekʷ- (“to say, tell”). Cognate with Old High German wiht ("creature, thing"), Dutch wicht, German Wicht, Swedish vätte. See also whit. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old Norse vígt, neuter of vígr ("skilled in fighting, of age"), cognate with Old English wīġ. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Found with monotonous regularity in Spenser's "Faerie Queene" where it seems to just mean "person" - whether human or faerie.

    February 8, 2009

  • Two wongs don't make a wight.

    February 18, 2008

  • Also a ghost or spirit that haunts a barrow
    barrow wight

    February 18, 2008