An Etymological Dictionary of the German Language/-heit

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-heit, fem. suffix of abstract terms in the West Teut. dialects; prop. an independent word — MidHG. heit, f., ‘method, nature,’ OHG. heit, m. and f., ‘person, sex, rank, estate,’ AS. hâd, ‘estate, race, method, quality’; Goth. haidus, m., ‘method’; see further under heiter. As an independent word it became obsolete in E. in the MidE. period, and was preserved only as a suffix, as in ModHG.; AS. -hâd, E. -hood (boyhood, falsehood, maidenhood), and also E. -head (maidenhead).