- IPA: /ˈrɔːt/ X-SAMPA: /'rO:t/
- Rhymes: -ɔːt
- In modern English, Wrought is usually not interchangeable with worked, the more common contemporary past and past participle of work .
- Wrought often lends a more archaic flavor .
- Because the phrase "work havoc" has become uncommon in modern English, its past tense "wrought havoc" is sometimes misinterpreted as being a past tense of "wreak havoc" .
The past participle of Middle English werken ( “to work” ), from Old English wyrcan ( past tense worhte, past participle geworht ), from Proto-Germanic *wurkijanan, from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- ( “to work” ). Cognate with wright ( as in wheelwright etc. ) .
Explanation of wrought by Wordnet Dictionary
- Work ( wûrk ), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Worked ( wûrkt ), or Wrought ( rat ); p. pr. & vb. n. Working.] [AS. wyrcean ( imp. worthe, wrohte, p. p. geworht, gewroht ); akin to OFries. werka, wirka, OS. wirkian, D. werken, G. wirken, Icel. verka, yrkja, orka, Goth. waúrkjan. √145. See Work, n.]
1. To exert one's self for a purpose; to put forth effort for the attainment of an object; to labor; to be engaged in the performance of a task, a duty, or the like.
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
To match thy goodness? Shak.
Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you. Ex. v. 18.
Whether we work or play, or sleep or wake,
Our life doth pass. Sir J. Davies.
2. Hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform; as, “a machine works well”.
We bend to that the working of the heart. Shak.
3. Hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or influence; to conduce.
We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. Rom. viii. 28.
This so wrought upon the child, that afterwards he desired to be taught. Locke.
She marveled how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him. Hawthorne.
4. To carry on business; to be engaged or employed customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor; to toil.
They that work in fine flax . . . shall be confounded. Isa. xix. 9.
5. To be in a state of severe exertion, or as if in such a state; to be tossed or agitated; to move heavily; to strain; to labor; as, “a ship works in a heavy sea”.
Confused with working sands and rolling waves. Addison.
6. To make one's way slowly and with difficulty; to move or penetrate laboriously; to proceed with effort; -- with a following preposition, as down, out, into, up, through, and the like; as, “scheme works out by degrees; to work into the earth”.
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
Proportioned to each kind. Milton.
7. To ferment, as a liquid.
The working of beer when the barm is put in. Bacon.
8. To act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a cathartic.
Purges . . . work best, that is, cause the blood so to do, . . . in warm weather or in a warm room. Grew.
To work at, to be engaged in or upon; to be employed in. -- To work to windward ( Naut. ), to sail or ply against the wind; to tack to windward. Mar. Dict.
- Wrought imp. & p. p. of Work; as, “What hath God wrought?”.
In 1837, Samuel F. B. Morse, an American artist, devised a working electric telegraph, based on a rough knowledge of electrical circuits, electromagnetic induction coils, and a scheme to encode alphabetic letters. He and his collaborators and backers campaigned for years before persuading the federal government to fund a demonstration. Finally, on May 24, 1844, they sent the first official long-distance telegraphic message in Morse code, What hath God wrought, through a copper wire strung between Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland. The phrase was taken from the Bible, Numbers 23:23. It had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellworth, the young daughter of a friend. Library of Congress, American Memories series ( http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/may24.html ).
Alas that I was wrought [created]! Chaucer.
The word wrought is sometimes assumed to be the past tense of wreak, as the phrases wreak havoc and wrought havoc are both commonly used. In fact, wrought havoc is not as common as wreaked havoc. Whether wrought is considered as the past tense of wreak or of work, wrought havoc has essentially the same meaning, encouraging the confusion. Etymologically, however, wrought is only the past tense of work.
Wrought and wreaked havoc
Recently, we mentioned that something had wreaked havoc with our PC. We were fairly quickly corrected by someone who said, Shouldn't that be wrought havoc? The answer is no, because either wreaked or wrought is fine here. A misconception often arises because wrought is wrongly assumed to be the past participle of wreak. In fact wrought is the past participle of an early version of the word work!
Wreak comes from Old English wrecan drive out, punish, avenge, which derives ultimately from the Indo-European root wreg- push, shove, drive, track down. Latin urgere to urge comes from the same source, giving English urge. Interestingly, wreak is also related to wrack and wreck. The phrase wreak havoc was first used by Agatha Christie in 1923.
Wrought, on the other hand, arose in the 13th century as the past participle of wirchen, Old English for work. In the 15th century worked came into use as the past participle of work, but wrought survived in such phrases as finely-wrought, hand-wrought, and, of course, wrought havoc . . . .
Havoc, by the way, comes from Anglo-French havok, which derived from the phrase crier havot to cry havoc. This meant to give the army the order to begin seizing spoil, or to pillage. It is thought that this exclamation was Germanic in origin, but that's all that anyone will say about it! The destruction associated with pillaging came to be applied metaphorically to havoc, giving the word its current meaning.
The Institute for Etymological Research and Education ( http://www.takeourword.com/Issue048.html )
- Wrought, a.
1. Worked; elaborated; not rough or crude.
2. Shaped by beating with a hammer; as, “wrought iron”.
Wrought iron. See under Iron.
Definition of wrought by GCIDE Dictionary