Etymology
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would 
Old English wolde, past tense and past subjunctive of willan "to will" (see will (v.)). Would-be (adj.) "wishing to be, vainly pretending" is first recorded c. 1300.
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could (v.)

Old English cuðe, past tense of cunnan "to be able" (see can (v.1)); ending changed 14c. to standard English -d(e). The unetymological -l- was added 15c.-16c. on model of would, should, where it is historical. Could be as a response to a suggestion, indicating it may be correct, is by 1938.

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counterintuitive (adj.)

also counter-intuitive, "contrary to intuition, opposed to what would be expected," 1955, from counter- + intuitive.

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philosophist (n.)

"a would-be philosopher," a disparaging term for a rationalist or skeptic, a philosophe; 1798, from French philosophiste; see philosophy + -ist.

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merry widow 

"amorous or designing widow," 1907, from the English title of Franz Lehar's operetta "Die Lustige Witwe" (1905). "The Lusty Widow" would have been more etymological (see lust (n.)), but would have given the wrong impression in English. Meaning "a type of wide-brimmed hat" (popularized in the play) is attested from 1908.

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standstill (n.)
"state of cessation of movement," 1702, from stand (v.) + still (adv.). Earlier the notion would have been expressed simply by stand.
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smarty (n.)
"would-be witty or clever person," 1854, from smart (n.) + -y (3). Extended form smarty-pants first attested 1939.
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vespiary (n.)
"wasp's nest," 1816, from Latin vespa "wasp" (see wasp) on model of apiary. A proper formation would be *vespary.
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abscessed (adj.)
1846, in pathology, adjective from abscess (n.). If there is a verb abscess it would be a back-formation from this.
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impedance (n.)
"hindrance," especially and originally "resistance due to induction in an electrical circuit," 1886, from impede + -ance. The classically correct formation would be *impedience.
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