What does “wont” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

We find “wont” nine times in the Authorized Version King James Bible:

  • Exodus 21:29: “But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.”
  • Numbers 22:30: “And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.”
  • 1 Samuel 30:31: “And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.”
  • 2 Samuel 20:18: “Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.”
  • Daniel 3:19: “Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.”
  • Matthew 27:15: “Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.”
  • Mark 10:1: “And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.”
  • Luke 22:39: “And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.”
  • Acts 16:13: “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.”

The Exodus passage gives a hint that “wont” and “time past” are connected. Numbers uses “wont” in conjunction with “ever since” (history). Second Samuel provides us the clue of “wont” being associated with “in old time” (the past). We can thus infer a general sense of the word. For a more specific definition, any good English dictionary is of help. “Wont” is from an Old English word, “gewunian,” meaning “to be used to.” Therefore, “wont” is in reference to a custom, habit, or practice, a repetitious behavior.

Also see:
» What does “haunt” mean in the Bible?
» Can you explain “ere?”
» Can you explain “betimes?”