Old English wald (Anglian), weald (West Saxon, Kentish) "forest, wooded upland," from Proto-Germanic *walthuz (cf. Old Saxon and Old Frisian wald, Middle Dutch wold, Dutch woud, Old High German wald, German Wald "forest," Swedish vall "pasture," Old Norse völlr "soil, field, meadow"); perhaps connected to wild. The sense development from "forested upland" to "rolling open country" (c.1200) perhaps is from Scandinavian influence, or a testimony to the historical deforestation of Britain. Not current since mid-16c.; survives mainly in place names (cf. Cotswold).