"way of proceeding, manner," Old English wise "way, fashion, custom, habit, manner; condition, state, circumstance," from Proto-Germanic *wison "appearance, form, manner" (see wise (adj.)). Compare Old Saxon wisa, Old Frisian wis, Danish vis, Middle Dutch wise, Dutch wijs, Old High German wisa, German Weise "way, manner." Most common in English now as a word-forming element (as in likewise, clockwise); the adverbial -wise has been used thus since Old English. For sense evolution from "to see" to "way of proceeding," compare cognate Greek eidos "form, shape, kind," also "course of action." Ground sense is "to see/know the way."