Word Origin & History
O.E. feohtan "to fight" (class III strong verb; past tense feaht, pp. fohten), from P.Gmc. *fekhtanan (cf. O.H.G. fehtan, Du. vechten, O.Fris. fiuhta), from PIE *pek- "to pluck out" (wool or hair), apparently with a notion of "pulling roughly." Spelling substitution of -gh- for a "hard H" sound was
a M.E. scribal habit, especially before -t-. In some late O.E. examples, the middle consonant was represented by a yogh
. Related: Fighting. The noun is from O.E. feohte, gefeoht.