• wend •
Pronunciation: wend • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: Come or go in a meandering fashion, mosey, wander.
Notes: This short but lovely verb is used far too seldom. It is a rarity in yet another way—it is spelt exactly as is pronounced. The alternate past participle, went, is now the past participle for go. The regular past participle is wended.
In Play: We most commonly hear this word in the idiomatic phrase 'to wend one's way': "The river wends its way lackadaisically through hill and dale and empties into the Atlantic." However, it is available for much wider service: "Whenever Lucinda Head speaks, my mind inevitably wends away to other things."
Word History: Today's Good Word was wendan "to direct, go; to turn; convert, translate" in Old English. It filtered down from Proto-Germanic wandeja-, source also of Swedish vända "to turn", Danish vende "to turn 180°, reverse", German and Dutch wenden "to turn". The Old Germanic form is the causative of Proto-Indo-European wendh- "to turn, wind, weave" that also went into the making of wander and the verb wind. The semantic path that English took was using this word in the sense of "go", keeping the overtones of twisting and turning.