"with," a preposition formerly in common use but now entirely superseded by with (except in the compound midwife) from Old English mid "with, in conjunction with, in company with, together with, among, at the same time as," and in part from cognate Old Norse mið, from Proto-Germanic *medthi- (source also of Old Saxon mid, Old Frisian mith "together with, with the help of," Dutch met, Old High German and German mit, Danish med, Gothic miþ "with"), from PIE *meti-, suffixed form of root *me- "in the middle" (compare meta-).
It forms all or part of: amid; intermediate; mean (adj.2) "occupying a middle or intermediate place;" medal; medial; median; mediate; medieval; mediocre; Mediterranean; medium; meridian; mesic; mesial; meso-; meson; Mesopotamia; Mesozoic; mezzanine; mezzo; mezzotint; mid (prep., adj.); middle; Midgard; midriff; midst; midwife; milieu; minge; mizzen; moiety; mullion.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit madhyah, Avestan madiya- "middle," Greek mesos, Latin medius "in the middle, between; from the middle," Gothic midjis, Old English midd "middle," Old Church Slavonic medzu "between," Armenian mej "middle."
Old English wið "against, opposite, from, toward, by, near," a shortened form related to wiðer, from Proto-Germanic *withro- "against" (source also of Old Saxon withar "against," Old Norse viðr "against, with, toward, at," Middle Dutch, Dutch weder, Dutch weer "again," Gothic wiþra "against, opposite"), from PIE *wi-tero-, literally "more apart," suffixed form of *wi- "separation" (source also of Sanskrit vi "apart," Avestan vi- "asunder," Sanskrit vitaram "further, farther," Old Church Slavonic vutoru "other, second"). Compare widow (n.).
Sense shifted in Middle English to denote association, combination, and union, partly by influence of Old Norse vidh, and also perhaps by Latin cum "with" (as in pugnare cum "fight with"). In this sense, it replaced Old English mid "with," which survives only as a prefix (as in midwife). Original sense of "against, in opposition" is retained in compounds such as withhold, withdraw, withstand.
Often treated as a conjunction by ungrammatical writers and used where and would be correct. First record of with child "pregnant" is recorded from c. 1200. With it "cool" is African-American vernacular, recorded by 1931. French avec "with" was originally avoc, from Vulgar Latin *abhoc, from apud hoc, literally "with this."
Middle English wif, wyf, from Old English wif (neuter) "woman, female, lady," also, but not especially, "wife," from Proto-Germanic *wīfa- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian wif, Old Norse vif, Danish and Swedish viv, Middle Dutch, Dutch wijf, Old High German wib, German Weib), of uncertain origin and disputed etymology, not found in Gothic.
Apparently felt as inadequate in its basic sense, leading to the more distinctive formation wifman (source of woman). Dutch wijf now means, in slang, "girl, babe," having softened somewhat from earlier sense of "bitch." The Modern German cognate (Weib) also tends to be slighting or derogatory; Middle High German wip in early medieval times was "woman, female person," vrouwe (Frau) being retained for "woman of gentle birth, lady;" but from c. 1200 wip "took on a common, almost vulgar tone that restricted its usage in certain circles" and largely has been displaced by Frau.
The more usual Indo-European word is represented in English by queen/quean. Words for "woman" also double for "wife" in some languages. Some proposed PIE roots for wife include *weip- "to twist, turn, wrap," perhaps with sense of "veiled person" (see vibrate); and more recently *ghwibh-, a proposed root meaning "shame," also "pudenda," but the only examples of it would be the Germanic words and Tocharian (a lost IE language of central Asia) kwipe, kip "female pudenda."
The modern sense of "female spouse" began as a specialized sense in Old English; the general sense of "woman" is preserved in midwife, old wives' tale, etc. Middle English sense of "mistress of a household" survives in housewife; and the later restricted sense of "tradeswoman of humble rank" in fishwife. By 1883 as "passive partner in a homosexual couple." Wife-swapping is attested from 1954.
"of or pertaining to a midwife or midwifery," 1742, from Modern Latin obstetricus "pertaining to a midwife," from obstetrix (genitive obstetricis) "midwife," literally "one who stands opposite (the woman giving birth)," from obstare "stand opposite to" (see obstacle). The true adjective would be obstetricic, "but only pedantry would take exception to obstetric at this stage of its career" [Fowler]. Related: Obstetrical.
"pertaining to the Socratic method of assisting a person, by questions, to discover conceptions latent in his mind," 1650s, from Greek maieutikos, a figurative use in philosophy of a word meaning literally "obstetric," from maieuesthai "act as a midwife," from maia "midwife" (see Maia).
By putting leading questions on general or well-known facts, Socrates, by easy steps, to the surprise and delight of his subject, would bring him to the enunciation of some principle hitherto unknown or undeveloped in his mind. This is called his Maieutic: a term which Socrates himself suggested, likening his relation to the development and birth of ideas in the mind to that mid-wife office which his mother performed for the body. Both this feature and the illustration afforded fine material for jest to Aristophanes, who, in his usual comic way, proceeded to literalize the metaphor. [Samuel Ross Winans, "Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates," Boston: 1890]