"mental capacity," Old English wit, more commonly gewit, from Proto-Germanic *witjan (cf. Old Saxon wit, Old Norse vit, Danish vid, Swedish vett, Old Frisian wit, Old High German wizzi "knowledge, understanding, intelligence, mind," German Witz "wit, witticism, joke," Gothic unwiti "ignorance"), from PIE *woid-/*weid-/*wid- "to see," metaphorically "to know" (see vision). Related to Old English witan "to know" (source of wit (v.)). Meaning "ability to make clever remarks in an amusing way" is first recorded 1540s; that of "person of wit or learning" is from late 15c. For nuances of usage, see humor.
A witty saying proves nothing. [Voltaire, Diner du Comte de Boulainvilliers]
Wit ought to be five or six degrees above the ideas that form the intelligence of an audience. [Stendhal, "Life of Henry Brulard"]
"know," Old English witan "to know," from Proto-Germanic *witanan "to have seen," hence "to know" (cf. Old Saxon witan, Old Norse vita, Old Frisian wita, Middle Dutch, Dutch weten, Old High German wizzan, German wissen, Gothic witan "to know"); see wit (n.). The phrase to wit, almost the only surviving use of the verb, is first recorded 1570s, from earlier that is to wit (mid-14c.), probably a loan-translation of Anglo-French cestasavoir, used to render Latin videlicet (see viz.).
Old English ende "end, conclusion, boundary, district, species, class," from Proto-Germanic *andja (cf. Old Frisian enda, Old Dutch ende, Dutch einde, Old Norse endir "end;" Old High German enti "top, forehead, end," German ende, Gothic andeis "end"), originally "the opposite side," from PIE *antjo "end, boundary," from root *ant- "opposite, in front of, before" (see ante).
Original sense of "outermost part" is obsolete except in phrase ends of the earth. Sense of "destruction, death" was in Old English. Meaning "division or quarter of a town" was in Old English. The end "the last straw, the limit" (in a disparaging sense) is from 1929.
The phrase end run is first attested 1902 in U.S. football; extended to military tactics in World War II; general figurative sense is from 1968. End time in reference to the end of the world is from 1917. To end it all "commit suicide" is attested by 1911. Be-all and end-all is from Shakespeare ("Macbeth" I.vii.5).
Worldly wealth he cared not for, desiring onely to make both ends meet. [Thomas Fuller, "The History of the Worthies of England," 1662]
A presumed list of things one wants: intent on buying every weapon the generals and admirals put on their wish lists
in Heb. 13:7, is the rendering of the unusual Greek word _ekbasin_, meaning "outcome", i.e., death. It occurs only elsewhere in 1 Cor. 10:13, where it is rendered "escape."