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From Middle English forwirken, forwerken, forwurchen, from Old English forwerċan, forwyrċan (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).


forwork (third-person singular simple present forworks, present participle forworking, simple past and past participle forworked or forwrought)

  1. (archaic, transitive) To forfeit (a possession, privilege, etc.); ruin (oneself) by one's own conduct.
  2. (archaic, 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.
  3. (archaic, transitive) To do wrong to; injure; scathe.
  4. (archaic, 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; []