c. 1300, "act of bequeathing," from be- + *cwis, *cwiss "saying" (related to quoth, from Proto-Germanic *kwessiz, from PIE root *gwet- "to say, speak"). Also compare bequeath. With unetymological -t (as in behest). The meaning "legacy, that which is bequeathed" is recorded from late 15c.
updated on October 07, 2022