Definition of wether
: a male sheep castrated before sexual maturity; also : a castrated male goat
How the wether Came to Be a Trendsetter
Wether now typically refers to a castrated male sheep, although the word initially had the meaning of simply “a male sheep,” without any indication of its reproductive abilities. Wether serves as the second component of the word bellwether (“one that takes the lead or initiative” or “an indicator of trends”). The use of bellwether in this sense is from the practice of placing a bell around the neck of the sheep which would lead the flock, and not from any natural capacity for leadership on the part of this kind of animal.
Origin and Etymology of wether
Middle English, ram, from Old English; akin to Old High German widar ram, Latin vitulus calf, vetus old, Greek etos year
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
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