Etymology
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wh- 

respelling of Old English hw- attested from 11c., but not the common form until after c. 1400. It represents PIE *kw-; in German reduced to simple w-, in Scandinavian as hv-, kv-, or v-.

It also was added unetymologically to some borrowed words (whisk, whiskey) and some native words formerly spelled with simple w- or h- (whole, whore). In the 15c. flowering of its use it also threatened to change the spelling of hot, home and many more. In northern English 16c.-18c., sometimes altered to quh- (see Q). Proper pronunciation has been much in dispute in educated speech.

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wl- 
an initial sound cluster in words in Old English and early Middle English; among the Old English words were wlanc "stately, splendid;" wlætung "nausea;" wlenc "pride, arrogance" (Middle English wlonk); wlite "brightness, beauty, splendor;" wlitig" radiant, physically beautiful (Middle English wliti).
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wr- 
common Germanic consonantal combination, especially to start words implying twisting or distortion. Retained in Dutch and Flemish; reduced to -r- in Old High German and Old Norse; represented by vr- in Danish and Swedish; still spelled -wr- in English, but the -w- ceased to be pronounced c. 1450-1700 except in dialects.
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