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[weeld] /wild/
verb (used with object)
to exercise (power, authority, influence, etc.), as in ruling or dominating.
to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively.
Archaic. to guide or direct.
Archaic. to govern; manage.
Origin of wield
before 900; Middle English welden, Old English wieldan to control, derivative of wealdan to rule; cognate with German walten, Old Norse valda, Gothic waldan; akin to Latin valēre to be strong, prevail
Related forms
wieldable, adjective
wielder, noun
unwieldable, adjective
Can be confused
weald, wield.
1. exert, employ, utilize. 2. manipulate, control. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wield
  • It's a great way for far left environmentalists to wield power and exert a measure of control over business, though.
  • Winfrey will be chairman and wield editorial control.
  • The trustee is still perceived to wield that control despite the trust relationship and may influence bank personnel.
  • But police officers now commonly wield the futuristic weapons.
  • Chimps wield tools, chameleons change colors, and dogs can recognize their owners.
  • Let them wield the scissors and spare me this ignominy.
  • Gents, even if the only iron you ever wield is on the golf course you can still keep a razor-sharp crease in your trousers.
  • One reason for the silence is fear of retribution, given the power that mentors wield over their students' careers.
  • Orangutans spell, crows wield tools, parrots count and dolphins and chimpanzees show cunning if not outright deceit.
  • To understand that, it's important to understand the vast amount of power that ancestors wield over daily life.
British Dictionary definitions for wield


verb (transitive)
to handle or use (a weapon, tool, etc)
to exert or maintain (power or authority)
(obsolete) to rule
Derived Forms
wieldable, adjective
wielder, noun
Word Origin
Old English wieldan, wealdan; related to Old Norse valda, Old Saxon waldan, German walten, Latin valēre to be strong
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 wield

Old English weldan (Mercian), wieldan, wealdan (West Saxon) "to govern, possess, have control over" (class VII strong verb; past tense weold, past participle gewealden), merged with weak verb wyldan, both from Proto-Germanic *wal-t- (cf. Old Saxon and Gothic waldan, Old Frisian walda "to govern, rule," Old Norse valda "to rule, wield, to cause," Old High German waltan, German walten "to rule, govern").

The Germanic words probably are from PIE *waldh- (cf. Old Church Slavonic vlado "to rule," vlasti "power;" Lithuanian veldu "to rule, possess"), from root *wal- "to be strong, to rule" (see valiant).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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