From Middle English forwirken, forwerken, forwurchen, from Old English forwercan, forwyrcan (“to do wrong, sin; ruin, undo, destroy; condemn, convict, curse; forfeit; barricade, obstruct, close up”), from Proto-Germanic *frawurkijaną, equivalent to for- + work. Cognate with Dutch verwerken (“to digest, assimilate, work up, put into action”), German verwirken (“to forfeit”), Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌰𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌾𐌰𐌽 (frawaurkjan).
- (transitive) To forfeit (a possession, privilege, etc.); ruin (oneself) by one's own conduct.
- (transitive) To obstruct; barricade; block.
1881, Grant Allen, Early Britain:
- And Æthelwold sat within the ham, with the men that to him had bowed, and he had forwrought [obstructed] all the gates in, and said that he would either there live or there lie.
- (transitive) To do wrong to; injure; scathe.
- (transitive) To overwork; exhaust with toil.
1889, St. John's College (University of Cambridge), The Eagle:
- And toiling so, well-nigh forwrought, She prayed full fervently; [...]