Definitions

Wight

Wight

[wahyt]
Wight, Isle of, island and unitary authority (1991 pop. 126,600), 147 sq mi (381 sq km), S England, across the Solent and Spithead channels from Hampshire. The administrative center is Newport. The island is 23 mi (37 km) long from the eastern Foreland to the Needles (detached chalk formations at the western extremity) and 13 mi (21 km) wide. The Medina, which almost bisects the island, and the East Yar and the West Yar are the chief rivers. Numerous small streams on the southern coast have cut a series of picturesque gullies in the soft rock. The climate is mild, and the scenery, as a result of the contrasting geological strata, is varied. Quaint villages, such as Ventnor, and a beautiful coast line make the island a popular resort. Cowes is an important port.

The island was conquered by the Romans in A.D. 43 and probably settled later by the Jutes. It was annexed to the kingdom of Wessex in 661 and Christianized c.700. The Isle of Wight was the headquarters of the Danes at the end of the 10th cent. William I bestowed the lordship of the island upon William Fitz-Osbern. In 1293 it returned permanently to the crown. At Carisbrooke Castle, now in ruins, King Charles I was imprisoned (1647-48). In 1890 the island was established as a separate administrative county; administratively, it became a unitary authority in 1995. Queen Victoria's seaside home, Osborne House, is near the famous yachting center at Cowes. Parkhurst, a major British maximun security prison, is on the island.

wight: from Old English word wiht, is a Middle English word used to describe a creature or a living being. It is akin to Old High German wiht, meaning a creature or thing.,

In its original usage the word was wight described a living human being. More recently the word has been used within the fantasy genre to describe undead or wraith-like creatures: Corpses with a part of their decayed soul still in residence. Notable examples of this include the undead Barrow-Wights from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and the wights of Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.

Modern German "Wicht" is a cognate, meaning "small person, dwarf", and also "unpleasant person"; in Low German it means "girl". The word is a cognate with Dutch wicht, German Wicht, Old Norse vættir and Swedish vätte. It is not related to the English word "witch". The Wicht, Wichtel or Wichtelchen of Germanic folklore is most commonly translated into English as an imp, a small, shy character who often does helpful domestic chores when nobody is looking (as in the Tale of the Cobbler's Shoes).

In literature and culture

Examples of the word used in classic English literature and poetry:

Recently used in "A Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R. R. Martin, book IV "A Feast for Crows" (2005),

  • :"Who has been beyond the wall of death to see? Only the wights, and we know what they are like. We know."

See also

References

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