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[ween] /win/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), Archaic.
to think; suppose.
to expect, hope, or intend.
Origin of ween
before 900; Middle English wenen, Old English wēnan to expect; cognate with German wähnen to imagine, Old Norse væna, Gothic wēnjan to hope, expect
Related forms
unweened, adjective
Can be confused
wean, ween. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ween
Historical Examples
  • I ween, he heard from her naught else than no, that she nevermore would wed a man.

  • And she that longs to see, I ween, is as desirous to be seen.

    Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • He giveth such royal gifts, the knight must ween, forsooth, that I have sent for death.

  • The fiery scenes of the forum did not ween him from his family.

    Robert Toombs Pleasant A. Stovall
  • As great fools, I ween, as the Mayor of Coventry, whose foolish rhymes do keep running in my head.

    Constance Sherwood Lady Georgiana Fullerton
  • Brave banqueting I ween to-night for all that goodly company.

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • Death, I ween, had conspired against them, wherefore many of the warriors perished through the guests.

  • That day I write of, little did I ween what her end would be.

  • No timepiece marked the hour, but it was about midnight, I ween, when death set the spirit of that youthful negro free.

  • And after this, I ween, you will behold my skill in stratagem.

    The Kath Sarit Sgara Somadeva Bhatta
British Dictionary definitions for ween


(archaic) to think or imagine (something)
Word Origin
Old English wēnan; related to Old Saxon wānian, Gothic wēnjan, German wähnen to assume wrongly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ween

Old English wenan "to think," from Proto-Germanic *woenijanan (cf. Old Saxon wanian, Old Norse væna, Old Frisian wena, Old High German wanen, German wähnen, Gothic wenjan "to expect, suppose, think"), from *woeniz "expectation," from PIE root *wen- "to wish, desire, strive for" (see Venus). Archaic since 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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