wan-

wan-
wan-
(wɒn)
a prefix expressing privation or negation (approximately equivalent to un-1 or mis-), repr. OE. wan-, wǫn-, corresponding to OFris. wan-, won-, OS. wan- (only in wanskefti misfortune = OE. wansceaft), MLG., MDu. wan- (mod.Du. in many new formations, esp. in the sense ‘wrong’, ‘mis-’, as in wanbestuur misgovernment, wanluid discordant sound), OHG. wan-, wana (only in wanwâfan unarmed, wanaheil unhealthy, infirm, wanawizzi lacking wit, insane), MHG. wan- (only in wanwitze inherited from OHG.), mod.G. wahn- (in wahnwitz, wahnsinn insanity, commonly apprehended as compounds of wahn n., delusion; also in some dialect words, chiefly adopted from LG.); ON., Sw., Da. van- (in many old formations, to which mod.Sw. and Da. have added many more, chiefly adopted from LG.). The prefix is in origin identical with wane a.
In OE. the number of words formed with the prefix is considerable, but none of them has survived into modern English, and only one (wanspéd, ill-success) into ME. Of the many new formations that arose in ME., only wantoȝen, undisciplined, wanton, still survives in use (with no consciousness of its etymological meaning); wanhope and wantrust may have been suggested by the equivalent MDu. forms. It was in the north that the prefix was most prolific, and it probably continued to be productive far into the modern period. The following words, peculiar to the Scottish and northern dialects, are recorded in the Eng. Dial. Dict., mostly with examples (or references to glossaries etc.) from the 18th c., but few if any of them are now in current use:—wancanny adj., wanchancy a., wancheer grief, sadness, wancouth adj. = uncouth, wandeidy adj., mischievous, wandought a. and n., wanearthly adj., wanease, wanfortune, wanfortunate, adj. wanhap, wanliesum, wanlit adj., wanluck, wanown't adj. = unowned, wanreck ‘mischance, ruin’, wanrest, wanthriven a., wanuse misuse, waste, wanweird, wanworth adj. and n.

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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