mid-13c., "having merit," from worth
(1). Attested from c.1300 as a noun meaning "person of merit" (esp. in Nine Worthies,
famous men of history and legend: Joshua, David, Judas Maccabæus, Hector, Alexander, Julius Cæsar, Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon -- three Jews, three gentiles, three Christians).