Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Wire-puller noun One who pulls the wires, as of a puppet; hence, one who operates by secret means; an intriguer.

Political wire-pullers and convention packers.
Lowell.

Wire-pulling noun The act of pulling the wires, as of a puppet; hence, secret influence or management, especially in politics; intrigue.

Wire-tailed adjective (Zoology) Having some or all of the tail quills terminated in a long, slender, pointed shaft, without a web or barbules.

Wire-worker noun One who manufactures articles from wire.

Wire-wound gun (Ordnance) A gun in the construction of which an inner tube (either entire or in segments) is wound with wire under tension to insure greater soundness and uniformity of resistance. In modern construction hoops and jackets are shrunk on over the wire.

Wireless adjective Having no wire; specif. (Electricity) , designating, or pertaining to, a method of telegraphy, telephony, etc., in which the messages, etc., are transmitted through space by electric waves; as, a wireless message. -- Wireless telegraphy or telegraph (Electricity) , any system of telegraphy employing no connecting wire or wires between the transmitting and receiving stations. Although more or less successful researchers were made on the subject by Joseph Henry, Hertz, Oliver Lodge, and others, the first commercially successful system was that of Guglielmo Marconi, patented in March, 1897. Marconi employed electric waves of high frequency set up by an induction coil in an oscillator, these waves being launched into space through a lofty antenna. The receiving apparatus consisted of another antenna in circuit with a coherer and small battery for operating through a relay the ordinary telegraphic receiver. This apparatus contains the essential features of all the systems now in use. -- Wireless telephone , an apparatus or contrivance for wireless telephony. -- Wireless telephony , telephony without wires, usually employing electric waves of high frequency emitted from an oscillator or generator, as in wireless telegraphy. A telephone transmitter causes fluctuations in these waves, it being the fluctuations only which affect the receiver.

Wireless noun Short for Wireless telegraphy , Wireless telephony , etc.; as, to send a message by wireless .

Wirework noun Work, especially openwork, formed of wires.

Wireworm noun (Zoology) (a) One of the larvæ of various species of snapping beetles, or elaters; -- so called from their slenderness and the uncommon hardness of the integument. Wireworms are sometimes very destructive to the roots of plants. Called also wire grub . (b) A galleyworm.

Wiriness noun The quality of being wiry.

Wiring noun
1. The act of one that wires anything.

2. The wires or conductors employed in a system of electric distribution.

Wiry adjective [ Written also wiery .]


1. Made of wire; like wire; drawn out like wire.

2. Capable of endurance; tough; sinewy; as, a wiry frame or constitution. "A little wiry sergeant of meek demeanor and strong sense." Dickens.

He bore his age well, and seemed to retain a wiry vigor and alertness.
Hawthorne.

Wis adverb [ Aphetic form of iwis , ywis ; or from Icelandic viss certain. See Ywis .] Certainly; really; indeed. [ Obsolete] "As wis God helpe me." Chaucer.

Wis transitive verb [ Due to mistaking Middle English iwis certain, Anglo-Saxon gewiss , for I wis . See Ywis .] To think; to suppose; to imagine; -- used chiefly in the first person sing. present tense, I wis . See the Note under Ywis . [ Obsolete or Poetic] "Howe'er you wis ." R. Browning.

Nor do I know how long it is
(For I have lain entranced, I wis ).
Coleridge.

Wisard noun See Wizard .

Wisdom (-dŭm) noun [ Anglo-Saxon wīsdōm . See Wise , adjective , and - dom .]


1. The quality of being wise; knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it; knowledge of the best ends and the best means; discernment and judgment; discretion; sagacity; skill; dexterity.

We speak also not in wise words of man's wisdom , but in the doctrine of the spirit.
Wyclif (1 Cor. ii. 13).

Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom ; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Job xxviii. 28.

It is hoped that our rulers will act with dignity and wisdom that they will yield everything to reason, and refuse everything to force.
Ames.

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom .
Coleridge.

2. The results of wise judgments; scientific or practical truth; acquired knowledge; erudition.

Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
Acts vii. 22.

Syn. -- Prudence; knowledge. Wisdom , Prudence , Knowledge . Wisdom has been defined to be "the use of the best means for attaining the best ends." "We conceive," says Whewell, " prudence as the virtue by which we select right means for given ends, while wisdom implies the selection of right ends as well as of right means." Hence, wisdom implies the union of high mental and moral excellence. Prudence (that is, providence , or forecast) is of a more negative character; it rather consists in avoiding danger than in taking decisive measures for the accomplishment of an object. Sir Robert Walpole was in many respects a prudent statesman, but he was far from being a wise one. Burke has said that prudence , when carried too far, degenerates into a "reptile virtue," which is the more dangerous for its plausible appearance. Knowledge , a more comprehensive term, signifies the simple apprehension of facts or relations. "In strictness of language," says Paley, " there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom ; wisdom always supposing action, and action directed by it."

Knowledge and wisdom , far from being one,
Have ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom , in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge , a rude, unprofitable mass,
The mere materials with which wisdom builds,
Till smoothed, and squared, and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Cowper.

Wisdom tooth , the last, or back, tooth of the full set on each half of each jaw in man; -- familiarly so called, because appearing comparatively late, after the person may be supposed to have arrived at the age of wisdom. See the Note under Tooth , 1.

Wisdom literature The class of ancient Hebrew writings which deal reflectively with general ethical and religious topics, as distinguished from the prophetic and liturgical literature, and from the law. It is comprised chiefly in the books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, Ecclesiastes, and Wisdom of Solomon. The "wisdom" ( Hokhmah ) of these writings consists in detached sage utterances on concrete issues of life, without the effort at philosophical system that appeared in the later Hellenistic reflective writing beginning with Philo Judæus.

Wise adjective [ Compar. Wiser ; superl. Wisest .] [ Middle English wis , Anglo-Saxon wīs ; akin to Old Saxon & OFries. wīs , Dutch wijs , German weise , Old High German wīs , wīsi , Icelandic vīss , Swedish vis , Danish viis , Goth. weis ; akin to wit , intransitive verb See Wit , v. , and confer Righteous , Wisdom .]


1. Having knowledge; knowing; enlightened; of extensive information; erudite; learned.

They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
Jer. iv. 22.

2. Hence, especially, making due use of knowledge; discerning and judging soundly concerning what is true or false, proper or improper; choosing the best ends and the best means for accomplishing them; sagacious.

When clouds appear, wise men put their cloaks.
Shak.

From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.
2 Tim. iii. 15.

3. Versed in art or science; skillful; dexterous; specifically, skilled in divination.

Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.
Sim. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of Brentford?
Shak.

4. Hence, prudent; calculating; shrewd; wary; subtle; crafty. [ R.] "Thou art . . . no novice, but a governor wily and wise ." Chaucer.

Nor, on the other side,
Will I be penuriously wise
As to make money , that's my slave , my idol .
Beau. & Fl.

Lords do not care for me:
I am too wise to die yet.
Ford.

5. Dictated or guided by wisdom; containing or exhibiting wisdom; well adapted to produce good effects; judicious; discreet; as, a wise saying; a wise scheme or plan; wise conduct or management; a wise determination. "Eminent in wise deport." Milton.

To make it wise , to make it a matter of deliberation. [ Obsolete] " We thought it was not worth to make it wise ." Chaucer. -- Wise in years , old enough to be wise; wise from age and experience; hence, aged; old. [ Obsolete]

A very grave, state bachelor, my dainty one;
He's wise in years , and of a temperate warmth.
Ford.

You are too wise in years , too full of counsel,
For my green experience.
Ford.

Wise adjective [ Middle English wise , Anglo-Saxon wīse ; akin to Old Saxon wīsa , OFries. wīs , Dutch wijs , wijze , Old High German wīsa , German weise , Swedish vis , Danish viis , Icelandic ö...ru vīs otherwise; from the root of English wit ; hence, originally, knowledge, skill. See Wit , v. , and confer Guise .] Way of being or acting; manner; mode; fashion. "All armed in complete wise ." Spenser.

To love her in my beste wyse .
Chaucer.

This song she sings in most commanding wise .
Sir P. Sidney.

Let not these blessings then, sent from above,
Abused be, or spilt in profane wise .
Fairfax.

» This word is nearly obsolete, except in such phrases as in any wise , in no wise , on this wise , etc. " Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil." Ps. xxxvii. 8. "He shall in no wise lose his reward." Matt. x. 42. " On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel." Num. vi. 23.

» Wise is often used as a suffix in composition, as in like wise , no wise , length wise , etc., in which words -ways is often substituted with the same sense; as, no ways , length ways , etc.

Wise-hearted adjective Wise; knowing; skillful; sapient; erudite; prudent. Ex. xxviii. 3.

Wise-like adjective Resembling that which is wise or sensible; judicious.

The only wise-like thing I heard anybody say.
Sir W. Scott.

Wiseacre noun [ OD. wijssegger or German weissager a foreteller, prophet, from weissagen to foretell, to prophesy, Old High German wīssag...n , corrupted (as if compounded of the words for wise and say ) from wīzzag...n , from wīzzag... a prophet, akin to Anglo-Saxon wītiga , wītga , from the root of English wit . See Wit , v. ]


1. A learned or wise man. [ Obsolete]

Pythagoras learned much . . . becoming a mighty wiseacre .
Leland.

2. One who makes undue pretensions to wisdom; a would-be-wise person; hence, in contempt, a simpleton; a dunce.

Wiseling noun One who pretends to be wise; a wiseacre; a witling. Donne.

Wisely adverb In a wise manner; prudently; judiciously; discreetly; with wisdom.

And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild.
Milton.

Wiseness noun Wisdom. [ Obsolete] Spenser.

Wish intransitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Wished ; present participle & verbal noun Wishing .] [ Middle English wischen , weschen , wuschen , Anglo-Saxon w...scan ; akin to Dutch wenschen , German wünschen , Icelandic æeskja , Danish önske , Swedish önska ; from Anglo-Saxon w...sc a wish; akin to OD. & German wunsch , Old High German wunsc , Icelandic ...sk , Sanskrit vā...chā a wish, vā...ch to wish; also to Sanskrit van to like, to wish. .... See Winsome , Win , transitive verb , and confer Wistful .]


1. To have a desire or yearning; to long; to hanker.

They cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
Acts xxvii. 29.

This is as good an argument as an antiquary could wish for.
Arbuthnot.

Wish transitive verb
1. To desire; to long for; to hanker after; to have a mind or disposition toward.

I would not wish
Any companion in the world but you.
Shak.

I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper.
3. John 2.

2. To frame or express desires concerning; to invoke in favor of, or against, any one; to attribute, or cal down, in desire; to invoke; to imprecate.

I would not wish them to a fairer death.
Shak.

I wish it may not prove some ominous foretoken of misfortune to have met with such a miser as I am.
Sir P. Sidney.

Let them be driven backward, and put to shame, that wish me evil.
Ps. xl. 14.

3. To recommend; to seek confidence or favor in behalf of. [ Obsolete] Shak.

I would be glad to thrive, sir,
And I was wished to your worship by a gentleman.
B. Jonson.

Syn. -- See Desire .

Wish noun
1. Desire; eager desire; longing.

Behold, I am according to thy wish in God a stead.
Job xxxiii. 6.

2. Expression of desire; request; petition; hence, invocation or imprecation.

Blistered be thy tongue for such a wish .
Shak.

3. A thing desired; an object of desire.

Will he, wise, let loose at once his ire . . .
To give his enemies their wish !
Milton.

Wish-wash noun Any weak, thin drink.

Wishable adjective Capable or worthy of being wished for; desirable. Udall.

Wishbone noun The forked bone in front of the breastbone in birds; -- called also merrythought , and wishing bone . See Merrythought , and Furculum .

Wishedly adverb According to wish; conformably to desire. [ Obsolete] Chapman.

Wisher noun One who wishes or desires; one who expresses a wish. Shak.

Wishful adjective [ Confer Wistful .]
1. Having desire, or ardent desire; longing.

2. Showing desire; as, wishful eyes.

From Scotland am I stolen, even of pure love
To greet mine own land with my wishful sight.
Shak.

3. Desirable; exciting wishes. [ R.] Chapman.

-- Wish"ful*ly , adverb -- Wish"ful*ness , noun

Wishing adjective & noun from Wish , transitive verb

Wishing bone . See Wishbone . -- Wishing cap , a cap fabled to give one whatever he wishes for when wearing it.

Wishly adverb According to desire; longingly; with wishes. [ Obsolete or Prov. Eng.] Chapman.

Wishtonwish noun [ Probably of American Indian origin.] (Zoology) The prairie dog.

Wishy-washy adjective [ See Wash .] Thin and pale; weak; without strength or substance; -- originally said of liquids. Fig., weak-minded; spiritless.

A weak wishy-washy man who had hardly any mind of his own.
A. Trollope.

Wishy-washy noun A weak or thin drink or liquor; wish-wash.

Wisket noun A whisket, or basket. [ Prov. Eng.] Ainsworth.

Wisly adverb [ See Wis , adverb ] Certainly. [ Obsolete] "God so wisly have mercy on me." Chaucer.

Wisp noun [ Middle English wisp , wips ; probably akin to D. & German wisch , Icelandic visk , and perhaps to Latin virga a twig, rod. Confer Verge a rod, Whisk , noun ]


1. A small bundle, as of straw or other like substance.

In a small basket, on a wisp of hay.
Dryden.

2. A whisk, or small broom.

3. A Will-o'-the-wisp; an ignis fatuus.

The wisp that flickers where no foot can tread.
Tennyson.

Wisp transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Wisped ; present participle & verbal noun Wisping .]


1. To brush or dress, an with a wisp.

2. To rumple. [ Prov. Eng.] Halliwell.

Wispen adjective Formed of a wisp, or of wisp; as, a wispen broom. [ Obsolete]

Wisse transitive verb [ Anglo-Saxon wīsian . See Wise , adjective ] To show; to teach; to inform; to guide; to direct. [ Obsolete]

Ere we depart I shall thee so well wisse
That of mine house ne shalt thou never misse.
Chaucer.

Wist archaic imperfect & past participle of Wit , v. Knew.

Wistaria noun [ New Latin ] [ So named after Caspar Wistar , an American anatomist.] (Botany) A genus of climbing leguminous plants bearing long, pendulous clusters of pale bluish flowers.

» The species commonest in cultivation is the Wistaria Sinensis from Eastern Asia. W. fruticosa grows wild in the southern parts of the United States.

Wistful adjective [ For wishful ; perhaps influenced by wistly , which is probably corrupted from Middle English wisly certainly (from Icelandic viss certain, akin to English wit ). See Wish .]


1. Longing; wishful; desirous.

Lifting up one of my sashes, I cast many a wistful , melancholy look towards the sea.
Swift.

2. Full of thought; eagerly attentive; meditative; musing; pensive; contemplative.

That he who there at such an hour hath been,
Will wistful linger on that hallowed spot.
Byron.

-- Wist"ful*ly , adverb -- Wist"ful*ness , noun

Wistit noun [ Prob. from native name: confer French ouistiti .] (Zoology) A small South American monkey; a marmoset. [ Written also wistiti , and ouistiti .]

Wistly adverb [ See Wistful .] Attentively; observingly. [ Obsolete] Shak.

Wistonwish noun (Zoology) See Wishtonwish .