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2014-10-15, 08:50 PM
How do you call and roleplay a male witch?

Ideas?

Jeff the Green
2014-10-15, 09:00 PM
Depends. "Witch" is appropriate for both sexes in at least some contexts. Alternatively there's 'wizard', 'warlock', 'cunning man' 'seiğmağr' ('ğ' is pronounced like 'th' in 'the'; I have no idea what the pronunciation of the 'r' on the end is), or 'stregono'.

Vitruviansquid
2014-10-15, 09:07 PM
I'd go with "Manwich"

Averis Vol
2014-10-15, 09:43 PM
Warlock is the most proper term I believe. Thank you scooby doo.

Anxe
2014-10-15, 09:44 PM
I've always heard the term warlock for male witches. I would roleplay a male witch exactly like Miracle Max from The Princess Bride.

A Tad Insane
2014-10-15, 09:47 PM
I would yell their name really loudly, unless phones had been invented. Then I'd dial his number

KillianHawkeye
2014-10-15, 09:50 PM
Growing up, I always thought that Warlock was the male version of a Witch.

But then Harry Potter equated Witches with Wizards, and then D&D came up with a Warlock class that's totally different from the Witch class, and I just don't goddamn know anymore! :smalleek::smallsigh:

Galen
2014-10-15, 09:54 PM
According to Wikipedia, "witch" can be either male or female. So a male witch is just called "witch".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft

Also:

"Warlock" is sometimes mistakenly used for male witch.

azoetia
2014-10-15, 10:22 PM
"Witch" can apply to either gender. It's not uncommon for IRL practitioners of modern witchcraft to consider the term "warlock" to be a grave insult, taking it to mean one guilty of cowardice, oath-breaking, and lies, though it's hardly universal.

Amaril
2014-10-15, 10:24 PM
According to my one Wiccan friend (for whatever that's worth), "warlock" is indeed inappropriate, and witch is the proper term for practitioners of any sex and gender.

Marlowe
2014-10-15, 10:56 PM
"Witch" is appropriate for both genders. "Warlock", aside from being an archaic verb meaning "To bind for sacrifice", is generally a lot more negative in it's connotations.

Dire Moose
2014-10-15, 11:13 PM
One of the players in a PBP game I'm running now is referring to his male witch as a "Witcher".

Aron Times
2014-10-16, 12:08 AM
Woman = Witch
Man = Mitch

My logic is foolproof. In that it is proof that I am a fool. :elan:

Anxe
2014-10-16, 12:35 AM
Woman = Witch
Man = Mitch

My logic is foolproof. In that it is proof that I am a fool. :elan:

O_O I used to work with a guy named Mitch! Should I be afraid?

Gnome Alone
2014-10-16, 12:37 AM
"Witch" is appropriate for both genders. "Warlock", aside from being an archaic verb meaning "To bind for sacrifice", is generally a lot more negative in it's connotations.

Now I can roll up a Warlock who warlocks things.

BWR
2014-10-16, 12:50 AM
{{scrubbed}}

Gracht Grabmaw
2014-10-16, 12:51 AM
My male gravewalker still calls himself a witch, although Common is his third language so he may not be aware that a witch is a female-only title at all. But he is fine with witcher and warlock as well, as long as you don't call him a wizard.

Gnome Alone
2014-10-16, 01:04 AM
{{scrubbed}}

How's it supposed to be pronounced? "Witcha"? Please tell me it's pronounced witcha.

Sartharina
2014-10-16, 02:10 AM
I would yell their name really loudly, unless phones had been invented. Then I'd dial his number
Of course, if magic is available, Sending is an option. Or Whispering Wind if you know where they hang out but don't know any specific ones. Dream's an option if you don't want to wake them up and they're asleep.

Agrippa
2014-10-16, 02:18 AM
Witch is unisex, a title for sorcerous/occult sages. On the other hand warlock is magic speak for traitor or oathbreaker. Basically a warlock is magical Jaime Lannister. Minus the sororial incest with the queen, three inbred bastard children and shoving an innocent little boy off a ledge for catching a glimpse of him humping his sister.

Eldan
2014-10-16, 02:19 AM
How's it supposed to be pronounced? "Witcha"? Please tell me it's pronounced witcha.

Apparently? Yes. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wicca#Old_English)

But then, again, roots seem to be "weik" and "wikjo", so who knows.

But yeah, male forms would be "witch" or "wiccan".

Anlashok
2014-10-16, 03:49 AM
Keep in mind though that a lot of the "X is inappropriate" isn't a particularly hard and fast rule. There's a lot of make-it-up-as-you-go involved in stuff like this.

Especially given that a lot of games that run "Witch" classes have far more in common with biblical witchcraft than wicca.

The Pathfinder Witch, for instance, has making a pact with a mysterious, supernatural patron as a centerpiece of its class features, which actually makes Warlock a pretty accurate term (since Warlocks are usually differentiated from Wizards because of said aforementioned pact-making on the part of the former).

Jeff the Green
2014-10-16, 03:55 AM
(since Warlocks are usually differentiated from Wizards because of said aforementioned pact-making on the part of the former).

I think that's only D&D. 'Warlock' denotes a magic-user and connotes a male and evil one; nothing about the word as normally used implies pact-making.

Spiryt
2014-10-16, 04:09 AM
Warlock pretty much means 'oath breaker', 'liar', 'betrayer'.

The 'war' core meaning mostly 'truth, righteousness' which apparently is mostly extinct in English, but doing OK in German - see Wahrsager, 'prophet, fortune teller', literally truth teller.

Lock is some variation of the 'loga (liar)' core.

Wiktionary confirms that definition at least.

hamishspence
2014-10-16, 04:11 AM
In D&D of course, it's possible to play a female warlock.

And also a good warlock (CG in 3rd ed, G and LG in 4th ed, LG, NG and CG in 5th ed).

Marlowe
2014-10-16, 04:11 AM
Now I can roll up a Warlock who warlocks things.

"Right! Which Warlock warlocked the witch which were locked in the war locker with the worn locks?"

"Which locker?"

"War locker!"

"Which witch in the war locker?"

"The witch in the war locker that were warlocked!"

"The witch that were warlocked with the worn locks from the war locker?"

"Yes! Which Warlock warlocked the witch?"

"It were Locke."

"I hate you."

BWR
2014-10-16, 04:26 AM
Apparently? Yes. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wicca#Old_English)

But then, again, roots seem to be "weik" and "wikjo", so who knows.


Correct. I doubt the guy who invented the modern 'wiccan' stuff knew a lot of etymology. If he did, he probably would have known how to pronounce 'wiccan' correctly, or could have come up with a better spelling for that word with a hard /k/ sound.

KillianHawkeye
2014-10-16, 05:23 AM
It's not uncommon for IRL practitioners of modern witchcraft to consider the term "warlock" to be a grave insult, taking it to mean one guilty of cowardice, oath-breaking, and lies, though it's hardly universal.

To be fair, though, the word "witch" hardly has a sterling reputation either historically or in modern pop culture. It's no longer 100% negative, but I'd hesitate to say it isn't still more of a negative than a positive. At best, we've gotten to the point where we have the classical and iconic "wicked witch" stereotype and maybe a bit of "oh yeah, well there are some good ones, too."

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-10-16, 05:45 AM
I'd say witch as well - although I guess you could also go with something like shaman if you wanted.

hamishspence
2014-10-16, 05:57 AM
Male witches who are rulers seem to crop up a few times in fiction and gaming - "The Witch King".

Eldan
2014-10-16, 06:13 AM
To be fair, though, the word "witch" hardly has a sterling reputation either historically or in modern pop culture. It's no longer 100% negative, but I'd hesitate to say it isn't still more of a negative than a positive. At best, we've gotten to the point where we have the classical and iconic "wicked witch" stereotype and maybe a bit of "oh yeah, well there are some good ones, too."

Warlock, however, never really had another meaning. It means "liar", that's its root. The roots of Witch seem to have a lot of possible meanings. Conjurer, Necromancer, Seer, to sacrifice.

caden_varn
2014-10-16, 06:14 AM
Woman = Witch
Man = Mitch

My logic is foolproof. In that it is proof that I am a fool. :elan:

Hmmm, dunno. Could make a case for
Woman=Witch
Man = Tch

Which would suggest male witches tut a lot?

hamishspence
2014-10-16, 06:28 AM
Warlock, however, never really had another meaning. It means "liar", that's its root.

I wonder what were the first sympathetic characters called warlocks? There's the protagonist of The Magic Goes Away:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheMagicGoesAway

but it seems more like that's his name, not his profession.

EccentricCircle
2014-10-16, 07:15 AM
"Right! Which Warlock warlocked the witch which were locked in the war locker with the worn locks?"

"Which locker?"

"War locker!"

"Which witch in the war locker?"

"The witch in the war locker that were warlocked!"

"The witch that were warlocked with the worn locks from the war locker?"

"Yes! Which Warlock warlocked the witch?"

"It were Locke."

"I hate you."

That's awesome.
It really annoys me when in Merlin, the dragon keeps referring to him as a Warlock, I can imagine King Uther calling him that, but you'd think the Dragon would be a bit nicer...

Segev
2014-10-16, 08:36 AM
That's awesome.
It really annoys me when in Merlin, the dragon keeps referring to him as a Warlock, I can imagine King Uther calling him that, but you'd think the Dragon would be a bit nicer...
To be fair, the dragon doesn't always seem to like Merlin.



But more to the point, while the term "oathbreaker" may be part of the etymology, it's worth noting that traditionally, the term "witch" was synonymous with "bride of Satan." I doubt most modern practitioners of the wiccan faith who call themselves "witches" would agree to that definition applying to them.

In Harry Potter, "witch" just means "female wizard," and "wizard" is the male of "witch." I don't know that Rowling ever used "warlock," nor technically "sorcerer" outside of the American version of the title of the first book. (And I really don't know why they changed "Philosopher's Stone" to "Sorcerer's Stone" for the American version.)

In Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch and Bewitched, "witch" is the name of the race/species as well as the women thereof, and the men are generally referred to as "warlocks" if it's not being used as a racial identifier. "He's a witch," might be said in the same way that an older text might indicate that "she's (of the race of) Man."

In D&D, "witch" was a hypothetical cross between wizard and adept written in the DMG to try to show how to design a class. (It wasn't very well done.) "Warlock" is a pretty cool class. In PF, "Witch" is a pretty cool class, and I think, if I squint at it right, it's what PF was trying to make in answer to the Warlock (what with the Hexes trying to match Invocations...but there's no Eldritch Blast equivalent).

If you decide the male form of "witch" is "warlock" in your fictional setting, the only people who will gainsay you are those who've tried to redefine the words for their own purposes, most of them related to a modern religion. And their redefinition is technically no more or less valid than yours in a real-world sense, and certainly is less so when it comes to discussing your fictional setting. (This is not to invalidate their choice of definition, either, just to indicate that they don't get to dictate to you what your terms in your fictional setting are. Especially not when their own definitions are new and deliberately friendlier than certain older ones.)

zimmerwald1915
2014-10-16, 08:47 AM
In Harry Potter, "witch" just means "female wizard," and "wizard" is the male of "witch." I don't know that Rowling ever used "warlock,"
Just once, as a governmental title roughly equivalent to Chief Justice.

hamishspence
2014-10-16, 09:07 AM
It actually crops up a few times - there's references to rowdy warlocks being thrown out of inns, I think.

DigoDragon
2014-10-16, 09:11 AM
I'd go with "Manwich"

I fondly remember the tale a GM told me about the 'Chicken Slaad Sand Witch'.
Horribly awesome punning was involved.

Elemental
2014-10-16, 09:25 AM
The etymology of the term witch is hard, likely something to do with divination which is apparently the primary concern of practitioners of the magic arts if the etymologies are anything to go by. However it can apply to both male and female, as well as both good and evil, individuals.

The terms wizard and warlock are much easier to track down. Wizard meaning an "individual who is characterised by wisdom" and warlock meaning "oathbreaker". It wasn't until the distinction between science and the supernatural was understood that wizards gained their current association with magic. Warlocks on the other hand have always had a negative connotation in regards to unnatural acts, cannibalism, diabolatry, etc. As for how it keeps getting confused as the male version of witch, we probably have the Scottish to thank for that.


In short, one should probably ask the witch in question what he wants you to call him to avoid any misunderstanding.

Anlashok
2014-10-16, 11:26 AM
As for how it keeps getting confused as the male version of witch, we probably have the Scottish to thank for that.

Because "Oathbreaker" (probably more accurately "covenant breaker") refers to a very specific oath being broken. Which, as said, puts it perfectly in line with the term "Witch" when not referring to modern co-option or older etymology.

Durkoala
2014-10-16, 02:00 PM
Just once, as a governmental title roughly equivalent to Chief Justice.

Rowling's notes of Dumbledore's notes in The Tales of Beedle the Bard say that 'Warlock' is equivelant to a knighthood, or 'Sir'. At some point in time (I can't remember if it applies at the time of the main series or not), it also meant 'argumentitive wizard'.

MrConsideration
2014-10-16, 02:39 PM
From what I remember of my undergrad, a lot of Middle/Old English uses of witch and it's roots are primarily used for males anyway. Hagtessen was a specifically female term, which is where 'hag' comes from. The popular understanding of witch is an Early Modern invention.

Choose whatever in-universe term suits your sort of character. It might say 'Witch' on your character sheet, but you might be a shaman, wise man, brujo, magician, scholar of the arcane or whatever suits your concept.

(For example, if he 5e campaign in my area ever gets started, I want to play a Tiefling Warlock - who is RP'ed as a Shaman/Wise Woman of her Tribe, because she is completely unaware that the Ancestor-Spirit from which she draws her power is a Devil. As far as she is concerned, Great-Grandfather was simply a powerful leader of her people, wise in the ways of magick.)

Jay R
2014-10-16, 02:39 PM
The word "witch" has many different meanings and many different connotations. Depending on the usage, the answer could be one of many things. Ask the DM and other players what they think is appropriate.

veti
2014-10-16, 06:12 PM
To be fair, though, the word "witch" hardly has a sterling reputation either historically or in modern pop culture. It's no longer 100% negative, but I'd hesitate to say it isn't still more of a negative than a positive. At best, we've gotten to the point where we have the classical and iconic "wicked witch" stereotype and maybe a bit of "oh yeah, well there are some good ones, too."

"Good witches" go back a fair way. Consider "The Wizard of Oz" (published 1900), or Cinderella's "fairy godmother".

I think it would be fair to say that historically, both "witch" and "warlock" have negative connotations, but a lot of work has been put into rehabilitating the image of "witch" (particularly in the last few decades), whereas virtually no-one has ever tried to portray a sympathetic "warlock".

The Oni
2014-10-16, 08:12 PM
(For example, if he 5e campaign in my area ever gets started, I want to play a Tiefling Warlock - who is RP'ed as a Shaman/Wise Woman of her Tribe, because she is completely unaware that the Ancestor-Spirit from which she draws her power is a Devil. As far as she is concerned, Great-Grandfather was simply a powerful leader of her people, wise in the ways of magick.)

That's pretty cool, actually. There's a lot you can do with a people whose history is all oral tradition...

Elemental
2014-10-16, 11:15 PM
Because "Oathbreaker" (probably more accurately "covenant breaker") refers to a very specific oath being broken. Which, as said, puts it perfectly in line with the term "Witch" when not referring to modern co-option or older etymology.

I didn't really want to go into that because of the prohibition on discussing religion, but you're right. As you are in regards to the connotations of witchcraft through the ages. The term witch itself though is neutral when divorced from its cultural and historical associations.

YossarianLives
2014-10-16, 11:31 PM
Wizard, Witch, Conjurer, Warlock, Sorcerer, Caster, Mage, Magic User, Magician, Enchanter, Magus,

That's all the various titles for magic users I could find on wikipedia.

I'm not sure if I actually helped but this is a pretty complete list of names for spell casters.

Jeff the Green
2014-10-17, 12:30 AM
I think it would be fair to say that historically, both "witch" and "warlock" have negative connotations, but a lot of work has been put into rehabilitating the image of "witch" (particularly in the last few decades), whereas virtually no-one has ever tried to portray a sympathetic "warlock".

At least in the middle ages it wasn't just the connotations that made 'witch' not as bad as 'warlock', it was denotation. 'Witch' could just as easily be a healer as someone who puts hexes on their neighbors, but 'warlock' never referred to a benevolent magic-user.

hamishspence
2014-10-17, 01:18 AM
At least in the middle ages it wasn't just the connotations that made 'witch' not as bad as 'warlock', it was denotation. 'Witch' could just as easily be a healer as someone who puts hexes on their neighbors, but 'warlock' never referred to a benevolent magic-user.I was under the impression that "cunning man" and "cunning woman" were the titles favoured by those who wished to avoid the ire of their neighbours.

SiuiS
2014-10-17, 01:34 AM
Witch is unisex, a title for sorcerous/occult sages. On the other hand warlock is magic speak for traitor or oathbreaker. Basically a warlock is magical Jaime Lannister. Minus the sororial incest with the queen, three inbred bastard children and shoving an innocent little boy off a ledge for catching a glimpse of him humping his sister.

Dunno. Sounds like most warlocks to me. Look at Morgana leFey.


Apparently? Yes. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wicca#Old_English)

But then, again, roots seem to be "weik" and "wikjo", so who knows.

But yeah, male forms would be "witch" or "wiccan".

IFF we equate game classes with modern religions which we do not on this forum.


Warlock pretty much means 'oath breaker', 'liar', 'betrayer'.

The 'war' core meaning mostly 'truth, righteousness' which apparently is mostly extinct in English, but doing OK in German - see Wahrsager, 'prophet, fortune teller', literally truth teller.

Lock is some variation of the 'loga (liar)' core.

Wiktionary confirms that definition at least.

I always heard there was relation to Vorlakya(?), myself. Though I'm sure I'm mangling the word – old root for vampire and or werewolf.

Really need to start fact checking these things, I think.

The Oni
2014-10-17, 01:39 AM
My PF witch just called himself a witch. Of course, he was rocking 20 Int/7 Wis/7 Cha, had a level of monk and worked for the Pathfinder Society, so maybe his advice isn't the soundest per se.

Jeff the Green
2014-10-17, 02:21 AM
I was under the impression that "cunning man" and "cunning woman" were the titles favoured by those who wished to avoid the ire of their neighbours.

Apparently that's (for the most part) right. I had thought they also used 'white witch', but it seems that's a term used primarily by folklorists and only rarely by the folk healers and commonfolk. They also were called 'conjurers' (hence 'conjure' as a synonym for 'hoodoo'), 'dry' (related to 'druid'), 'pellars' (from 'expeler') and 'dyn hysbys'.

Starshade
2014-10-17, 04:45 AM
The reason modern witches don't like the term Warlock is due to two reasons: It got no real good or benevolent etymology. And it implies males got higher status than females. On the positive side; for roleplaying, this might be something one wants to have, since it would make for great villainy. I personally would have preferred to use "Warlock" as a gender neutral term, if used, to avoid perpetuate non-neutral gender tropes.

Segev
2014-10-17, 09:56 AM
The reason modern witches don't like the term Warlock is ... it implies males got higher status than females.

Wait, how does "warlock" imply higher status than "witch?"

Sartharina
2014-10-17, 02:42 PM
Wait, how does "warlock" imply higher status than "witch?"Because any gendered term automatically implies higher status than "Witch" because Patriarchy.

CarpeGuitarrem
2014-10-17, 02:47 PM
Today, I learned why The Dresden Files uses the term "warlock" to refer to a wizard who goes rogue and breaks the Laws of Magic.

Ravian
2014-10-17, 03:50 PM
In one setting I'm using, Warlock refers to a mage that fights on the front lines in battle.

As for what I would call a male witch. Well in the context of D&D I'd probably just call them all witches, just like you call female wizards by the same name. Otherwise I'd generally just use Warlock. Witch hardly means anything positive in etymology any more than warlock does. I also fail to see how the existence of a male term is in of itself somehow sexist. Especially considering witch is still the norm. It's not like anyone's trying to commandeer the word and start calling female witches warlockesses or something dumb like that.

Ceiling_Squid
2014-10-17, 03:58 PM
One of the players in a PBP game I'm running now is referring to his male witch as a "Witcher".

Pfffft. :smallbiggrin:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/10/25

Relinara
2014-10-17, 04:04 PM
Wizard is probably the most technically correct answer.

KillianHawkeye
2014-10-18, 05:41 AM
"Good witches" go back a fair way. Consider "The Wizard of Oz" (published 1900), or Cinderella's "fairy godmother".

I am well aware of both of those works, and even being over a hundred years old, The Wizard of Oz is quite recent. And Cinderella doesn't even count because fairies are not the same as witches.

As a point of reference, the Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692. Witch trials were being conducted by the European inquisitions as early as the 15th century.

CarpeGuitarrem
2014-10-18, 11:15 AM
Weird recollection, btw: the very first time I remember hearing this question come up, it was on Jeopardy, where the answer was given as "what is a warlock?". As I recall, "wizard" was an answer rejected as incorrect. Not that Jeopardy is any strong standard. This was also over 10 years ago.

...I feel old.

VeliciaL
2014-10-18, 12:10 PM
I have half a mind to make a divination-focused wizard that calls herself a witch. For added fun minor in transmutation: pigs, toads, and newts everywhere!

Still, I think the correct answer to this question is "whatever the setting says it is."

veti
2014-10-19, 03:52 PM
I am well aware of both of those works, and even being over a hundred years old, The Wizard of Oz is quite recent. And Cinderella doesn't even count because fairies are not the same as witches.

As a point of reference, the Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692. Witch trials were being conducted by the European inquisitions as early as the 15th century.

What The Wizard of Oz proves is that "good witches" have always been with us, for values of "always" meaning "within living memory".

The history of witch trials is an interesting one. The popular stereotypes we have - ducking, burning and what have you - date from medieval times, but the early-modern theology of witchcraft (the whole "pact with the devil" idea) was only invented in the 15th century. Medieval witches were morally neutral, they'd only be condemned if they were accused of doing evil magic. It wasn't until the Renaissance that merely "being a witch" became synonymous with evil.

Jay R
2014-10-19, 08:39 PM
What The Wizard of Oz proves is that "good witches" have always been with us, for values of "always" meaning "within living memory".

Only just barely. It is clear in both the book and the movie that Dorothy had never heard of a good witch before. I suspect that Baum introduced the concept, and that it was as new as talking scarecrows, flying monkeys, and hammerheads.


"But I thought all witches were wicked," said the girl, who was half frightened at facing a real witch.

Zrak
2014-10-19, 09:42 PM
I would use witch.


Very little in itself, I'm afraid, at least as far as actual linguistic or historical knowledge is concerned. They don't even pronounce 'wicca' correctly.

I don't know if it's fair to say that someone pronounces something wrong because they pronounce it differently than it was pronounced, historically. Many words in modern English are not pronounced exactly as they were in Old English. Even with an unbroken lineage of practitioners, there would be nothing really unusual about the pronunciation having changed over the course of several centuries.


That's awesome.
It really annoys me when in Merlin, the dragon keeps referring to him as a Warlock, I can imagine King Uther calling him that, but you'd think the Dragon would be a bit nicer...

Are you talking about the show set in Arthurian times where peasants throw tomatoes? :smalltongue:

Marlowe
2014-10-19, 11:35 PM
"Arthurian times" has always been a pile of anachronisms. You might has well mention Plate Armour and having a place called "England".:smallsmile:

Zrak
2014-10-19, 11:48 PM
Sure, but it's one thing to have characters in armor invented sometime after the tale is probably supposed to take place and another entirely to include flora introduced to Europe after most Arthurian romances were written. The Arthurian legends take place in a kind of floating time outside of history, but that floating time outside of history is nonetheless pretty solidly before the Columbian exchange.

BWR
2014-10-20, 02:46 AM
I don't know if it's fair to say that someone pronounces something wrong because they pronounce it differently than it was pronounced, historically. Many words in modern English are not pronounced exactly as they were in Old English. Even with an unbroken lineage of practitioners, there would be nothing really unusual about the pronunciation having changed over the course of several centuries.

Either the guy looked at spelling and got the wrong pronounciation because he didn't know enough or he intentionally mispronounced it which is just silly (like spelling 'magic' with a 'k'). And palatalized sounds don't unpalatalize (unless your Denmark).

Zrak
2014-10-20, 03:23 AM
According to his own account, "the guy" (who, incidentally, has a name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Gardner_(Wiccan))) heard the word used, so the pronunciation changed at some point prior to the term's modern use. This could have happened in any number of ways, none of which make the change "wrong."

As an aside, if you're going to get pedantic about others' linguistic errors, real or imagined, your proofreading must be impeccable. You're going to wind up pretty looking pretty silly if your statements contain some error much more blatant and basic than the one you're attempting to ridicule. One can hardly imagine your humiliation were you to make such an error.

BWR
2014-10-20, 04:27 AM
As an aside, if you're going to get pedantic about others' linguistic errors, real or imagined, your proofreading must be impeccable. You're going to wind up pretty looking pretty silly if your statements contain some error much more blatant and basic than the one you're attempting to ridicule. One can hardly imagine your humiliation were you to make such an error.

That is embarrassing. I blame reading the internet too much. A perfect example of excessive incorrect usage slowly erasing correct usage, even by people who know better.

And I'll have to admit I was wrong about the prnounciation. I really should learn to check the OED before going off on a rant. It just looks like it should be a palatalized sound, dammit.

Spiryt
2014-10-20, 04:42 AM
The history of witch trials is an interesting one. The popular stereotypes we have - ducking, burning and what have you - date from medieval times, but the early-modern theology of witchcraft (the whole "pact with the devil" idea) was only invented in the 15th century. Medieval witches were morally neutral, they'd only be condemned if they were accused of doing evil magic. It wasn't until the Renaissance that merely "being a witch" became synonymous with evil.

From any actually 'official' moral point of view, witches weren't neutral at all.

Most of 'witchy' stuff was completely wrong from the theological and scientific point of view.

Plenty of chronicles and writers, especially clergy ones, constantly complain about common folk performing silly rites, seeking advice of 'old women' and generally endangering their souls.

The actual 'hunt' instead of just shaking the head and yelling was indeed mostly the case when something major went wrong, and the 'witch' was suspected, like you said.

I'm not all sure, but the later witch craze, particularly in Protenstant countries, was likely result of total change of general communities culture, aside from actual authority.

People simply didn't accept, or even tolerate 'old wise women' anymore.

Jeff the Green
2014-10-20, 11:32 AM
I suspect that Baum introduced the concept, and that it was as new as talking scarecrows, flying monkeys, and hammerheads.

No, he pretty definitely didn't. As I conceded above, "witch" was rarely used by good practitioners until the 20th Century, but it was used on occasion (usually as "white witch"). The fact that Dorothy had never heard of a good witch can be put down to the fact that she's 12 and that she only hears about witches from fairy tales.

Ravian
2014-10-20, 08:30 PM
The way I see it. The term witch evolved as old folk beliefs began to become less accepted by the churches. Originally going to the old wise woman for a potion or cure was just as usual as leaving a saucer of milk out for the pixies. Of course once bad things started happening it doesn't take much for people to start turning away from those old beliefs in favor of the newer, more organized religions. So suddenly the pixies turn into imps that spread disease lest you give them milk to curdle instead, and given that that old woman is just as capable of making poisons it only makes sense she would be spreading them through the wells.

And so the wise woman becomes the witch, with all the implications that entails.

Marlowe
2014-10-21, 12:03 AM
The history of witch trials is an interesting one. The popular stereotypes we have - ducking, burning and what have you - date from medieval times, but the early-modern theology of witchcraft (the whole "pact with the devil" idea) was only invented in the 15th century. Medieval witches were morally neutral, they'd only be condemned if they were accused of doing evil magic. It wasn't until the Renaissance that merely "being a witch" became synonymous with evil.

In fact, weird historical tidbit; trying somebody for witchcraft is legally nonsense under both Papal and Imperial law (as confirmed by Charlemagne), and punishing somebody for it is Assault and/or Murder. Catholic dogma is that all supernatural power comes from the divine and that those that claim to be getting it from somewhere else are charlatans or simply deluded. A "witch", under church law, is at worst somebody who needs spiritual counsel or (if the're getting money out of it) should be investigated for fraud. Someone accused of being a witch has a good case for slander.

This is a purely pragmatic rule, of course. It allows christianity to coexist with older "pagan" beliefs without setting up a direct conflict or tacitly lending the indigenous faith any authority.

Not that witchcraft trials didn't happen, but most were the result of secular authorities using superstition as an excuse to clamp down their authority on an unruly area, the work of regional fanatics often not all that great at the legalities of the thing, or simple hysteria.

hamishspence
2014-10-21, 06:21 AM
Not that witchcraft trials didn't happen, but most were the result of secular authorities using superstition as an excuse to clamp down their authority on an unruly area, the work of regional fanatics often not all that great at the legalities of the thing, or simple hysteria.

Early on, yes - but eventually witchcraft became treated as a type of heresy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_trials_in_the_early_modern_period

2014-10-24, 03:07 PM
I think i will just call him a "Maleficar" and be done with it.

Thank you guys!