An Etymological Dictionary of the German Language/Annotated/-heit

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-heit, feminine suffix of abstract terms in the West Teutonic dialects; properly an independent word — Middle High German heit, feminine, ‘method, nature,’ Old High German heit, masculine and feminine, ‘person, sex, rank, estate,’ Anglo-Saxon hâd, ‘estate, race, method, quality’; Gothic haidus, masculine, ‘method’; see further under heiter. As an independent word it became obsolete in English in the Middle English period, and was preserved only as a suffix, as in Modern High German; Anglo-Saxon -hâd, English -hood (boyhood, falsehood, maidenhood), and also English -head (maidenhead).