Etymology
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wist (v.)

"to know" (archaic), c. 1500, from Old English past tense of witan "to know" (cognate with German wusste, past tense of wissen "to know"); see wit. Had-I-wiste was used c. 1400-1550 in sense "regret for something done rashly or heedlessly;" see wist. Proverbial in expression Had-I-wiste cometh ever too late.

Haddywyst comyth euer to late Whan lewyd woordis beth owte y-spronge. ["Commonplace book" in Trinity College, Cambridge, c. 1500]
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hest (n.)

"bidding, command," Old English hæs "bidding, behest, command," from Proto-Germanic *hait-ti-, from *haitan "to call, name" (see behest). With unetymological -t added in Middle English on model of other pairings (compare wist/wesan, also whilst, amongst, etc.; see amidst).

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wistful (adj.)
1610s, "closely attentive," perhaps from obsolete wistly "intently" (c. 1500), of uncertain origin. Perhaps formed on the model of wishful. Middle English wistful meant "bountiful, well-supplied," from Old English wist "provisions." The meaning of "longingly pensive, musing" is by 1714. Related: Wistfully; wistfulness.
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about (adv., prep.)
Origin and meaning of about

Middle English aboute, from Old English abutan (adv., prep.), earlier onbutan "on the outside of; around the circumference of, enveloping; in the vicinity of, near; hither and thither, from place to place," also "with a rotating or spinning motion," in late Old English "near in time, number, degree, etc., approximately;" a compound or contraction of on (see on; also see a- (1)) + be "by" (see by) + utan "outside," from ut (see out (adv.)).

By c. 1300 it had developed senses of "around, in a circular course, round and round; on every side, so as to surround; in every direction;" also "engaged in" (Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?), and gradually it forced out Old English ymbe, ymbutan (from PIE root *ambhi- "around") in the sense "round about, in the neighborhood of."

From mid-13c. as "in the matter, in connection with." From early 14c. as "in partial rotation, so as to face in a different direction." From late 14c. as "near at hand, about one's person." "In a circuitous course," hence "on the move" (late 13c.), and in Middle English "be about to do, be busy in preparation for," hence its use as a future participle in (to be) about to "in readiness, intending." Abouts (late 14c.), with adverbial genitive, still found in hereabouts, etc., probably is a northern dialectal form.

To bring about "cause or affect" and to come about "happen" are from late 14c. About face as a military command (short for right about face) is first attested 1861, American English.

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