Were

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Were and wer are archaic terms for adult male humans and were often used for alliteration with wife as "were and wife" in Germanic-speaking cultures, and in the Old English construction werman,[citation needed] paired with the parallel wifman, denoting males and females respectively, which share structure with the current English woman. (Old English: wer, Old Dutch: wer, Gothic: waír, Old Frisian: wer, Old Saxon: wer, Old High German: wer, Old Norse: verr).

Etymology and usage[edit]

The word has cognates in various other languages, for example, the words vir (as in virility) and fear (plural fir as in Fir Bolg) are the Latin and Gaelic for a male human.

In folklore and fantasy fiction, were- is often used as a prefix applied to an animal name to indicate a type of therianthropic figure or shapeshifter (e.g. "were-boar"). Hyphenation used to be mandatory, but is now commonly dropped, as in werecat and wererat. This usage can be seen as a back-formation from werewolf (literally, "man-wolf"), as there is no equivalent wifwolf yet attested.

See also[edit]

References[edit]