was O.E. wesan, wæs, wæron 1st and 3rd person sing. of wesan "to remain," from P.Gmc. *wesanan (Cf. O.S. wesan, O.N. vesa, O.Fris. wesa, M.Du. wesen, Du. wezen, O.H.G. wesen "being, existence," Goth. wisan "to be"), from PIE root *wes- "remain, abide, dwell" (Cf. Skt. vasati "he dwells, stays;" Cf. VESTAL (Cf. vestal)). Wesan was a distinct verb in Old English, but it came to supply the past tense of AM (Cf. am). This began to develop in Proto-Germanic, since it is also the case in Gothic and Old Norse. See BE (Cf. be).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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