1. Full of melancholy longing or wishful yearning: "She seemed wistful for the old days when I'd hung around her all the time" (David Huddle).
2. Expressing sadness or yearning: "She saw the wisftul eyes grow yet more wistful, the lips curve to a pleading smile" (Dorothy Parker).
[Alteration (influenced by WISHFUL) of obsolete wistly, intently, perhaps from variant of whistly, whishtly, silently, from whist, silent, from whist, hush! (interjection calling for silence), from Middle English, of imitative origin.]
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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:
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.