I was looking up something else in my American Heritage Dictionary when my eye fell on this entry:
wight2 (wīt) adj. Archaic Valorous; brave. [Middle English < Old Norse vīgt, neuter of vīgr, able to fight; see weik-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
My first thought was “That’s odd, I’ve never heard of such a word.” Immediately following came the thought “Why is such an odd word in the AHD? How did it survive the culling that takes place for every new edition?” I will probably never get an answer to that question (I’m guessing some highly placed editor simply liked the word and couldn’t bear to let it go), but of course I went straight to the OED (entry from 1924), where the earliest citations are from c1275 (▸?a1200) (Laȝamon Brut l. 10658 “Fif and twenti þusend. whitere monnen”) and the latest is from 1858 (W. Morris Def. Guenevere 108 “They ought to sing of him who was as wight As Launcelot or Wade”), by which time I presume it was long out of living use. At any rate, I probably wouldn’t have posted about it if I hadn’t scrolled to the end of the entry and found this:
wight-wapping adj. [wap v.1] moving rapidly, or characterized by such movement.
1830 Scott Ayrshire Trag. i. 1, The weaver shall find room At the wight-wapping loom.
“Wight-wapping”: what a wonderful word! It sounds like something
Bugs Bunny Elmer Fudd would say. Bring it back, say I—we’ll get ’em all back!