Wich vs. Which

By Jaxson

  • Wich

    A “-wich town” is a settlement in Anglo-Saxon England characterised by extensive artisanal activity and trade – an “emporium”. The name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon suffix -wīc, signifying “a dwelling or fortified place”. Such settlements were usually coastal and many have left material traces found during excavation.

    Eilert Ekwall wrote: “OE wīc, an early loan-word from Lat vicus, means ‘dwelling, dwelling-place; village, hamlet, town; street in a town; farm, esp. a dairy-farm’. . . . It is impossible to distinguish neatly between the various senses. Probably the most common meaning is ‘dairy-farm’. . . . In names of salt-working towns . . . wīc originally denoted the buildings connected with a salt-pit or even the town that grew up around it. But a special meaning ‘salt-works’, found already in DB, developed.”

    As well as -wich, -wīc was the origin of the endings -wyck and -wick, as, for example, in Papplewick, Nottinghamshire.

    Four former “-wīc towns” are known in England as the consequence of excavation. Two of these – Jorvik (Jorwic) in present-day York and Lundenwic near London – are waterfront sites, while the other two, Hamwic in Southampton and Gipeswic (Gippeswic) in Ipswich are further inland.

  • Which (determiner)

    What, of those mentioned or implied.

    “Which song made the charts?”

  • Which (determiner)

    The one or ones that.

    “Show me which one is bigger.”

    “They couldn’t decide which song to play.”

  • Which (determiner)

    The one or ones mentioned.

    “He once owned a painting of the house, which painting would later be stolen.”

    “For several seconds he sat in silence, during which time the tea and sandwiches arrived.”

    “I’m thinking of getting a new car, in which case I’d get a red one.”

  • Which (pronoun)

    What one or ones (of those mentioned or implied).

    “Which is bigger?;”

    “Which is which?”

  • Which (pronoun)

    Who; whom; what (of those mentioned or implied).

    “He walked by a door with a sign, which read: PRIVATE OFFICE.”

    “We’ve met some problems which are very difficult to handle.”

    “He had to leave, which was very difficult.”

    “No art can be properly understood apart from the culture of which it is a part.”

  • Which (pronoun)

    Used of people (now generally who, whom or that).

  • Which (noun)

    An occurrence of the word which.


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