O.E. wadan "to go forward, proceed," in poetic use only, except as oferwaden "wade across," from P.Gmc. *wadan (cf. O.N. vaða, Dan. vade, O.Fris. wada, Du. waden, O.H.G. watan, Ger. waten "to wade"), from PIE base *wadh- "to go," found only in Gmc. and L. (cf. L. vadere "to go," vadum "shoal, ford," vadare "to wade"). The notion is of "to advance into water." It. guado, Fr. gué "ford" are Gmc. loan-words. Originally a strong verb (p.t. wod, pp. wad); weak since 16c. Figurative sense of "to go into" (action, battle, etc.) is recorded from late 14c.