1. A person, especially a woman, claiming or popularly believed to possess magical powers and practice sorcery.
2. A believer or follower of Wicca; a Wiccan.
a. Offensive An old woman considered to be ugly or frightening.
b. A woman considered to be spiteful or overbearing.
c. Informal A woman or girl considered to be charming or fascinating.
4. One particularly skilled or competent at one's craft: "A witch of a writer, [she] is capable of developing an intensity that verges on ferocity" (Peter S. Prescott).
v. witched, witch·ing, witch·es
1. To work or cast a spell on; bewitch.
2. To cause, bring, or effect by witchcraft.
To use a divining rod to find underground water or minerals; dowse.
[Middle English wicche, from Old English wicce, witch, and wicca, wizard, sorcerer; see weg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
witcher·y (-ə-rē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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:
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.