I stumbled upon this word lately, as in

he was wont to come early

I'm wondering what feeling it has for native speakers.

For example, can I use in a meeting, or in a written report?

  • 4
    You won't want to use wont, too often. – Phillip Ngan Nov 9 '11 at 3:01

I am a native speaker (American) and I rarely see this word used other than in literature or poetry. Perhaps native speakers from other countries can weigh in, but I would not use it in a meeting or written report. The most common usage I have seen, which is considered either formal or humorous (according to the Dictionary app on my Mac), is in a sentence such as the following: Reginald added just a few drops of milk to his tea, as was his wont.

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    I agree, and would only add that this word would sound out of place unless the meeting or report in question would be targeting an audience of professors of English. +1 – Robusto Dec 4 '10 at 14:07
  • ahaha! good to know. Not being native speaker sometimes put me in an inferiority complex... – Uberto Dec 4 '10 at 14:25

In Australia it has a ring of formality, but you do hear it from time to time, though perhaps a touch idiomatically - '..., as he is wont' and the like probably occur a good ten times as frequently as 'He is wont to...'.

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    Agree completely - wont is far from unknown, but these days it's normally as a self-conscious / quirky / idiomatic usage. And when it is used, it's far more likely to be as is his wont, or as he is wont [to do] tacked on to the end of a statement, rather than at the start. Perhaps because we half expect listeners to be slightly fazed by it, so we want to get in the thing we're really saying first. – FumbleFingers Jan 3 '12 at 0:08

"xyz, as is his wont"

remains a pretty typical/common form these days

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