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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How to act with people who wield political influence or those who, even if not rich, may be serviceable.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921 Thomas J. Campbell
  • My ambition is to wield the power that only the possession of vast wealth confers.

    The Mask Arthur Hornblow
  • It was because boys understand fully the force of example, and can wield it with great power to secure their ends.

  • He knew what she desired and what weapons she could wield wherewith to subdue his will.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • So great an influence does it wield in modern industrial life that it is often called King Cotton.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
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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