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went (wĕnt)
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v.
Past tense of go1.

[Middle English, from Old English wende, past tense and past participle of wendan, to go.]

Word History: Why do we say went and not goed? Go has always had an unusual past tense, formed from a completely different root from its present tense. The replacement within a series of inflected forms of one form by a completely unrelated form is called suppletion. (Another, even more extreme, example of suppletion in English is found in the paradigm be, am, are, was, whose forms are originally from four different verbal roots.) The past tense of go in Old English was ēode, formed from an unrelated root that has no other verb forms in English. Its modern replacement, went, derives from old forms of the modern verb wend. In Middle English the original past tense and past participle of wenden, "to go, turn," were wended and wend, respectively. The forms wente and went appeared around 1200 and gradually displaced the older wended and wend. The new past tense wente also took on a new use as the past tense of go, replacing ēode. By the beginning of the Modern English period, around 1500, went was no longer used in any other way and was therefore felt to be the normal past tense of go; at the same time, wend acquired the new form wended for its past tense and past participle, meaning "turned."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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