This verb originally meant 'to scratch, carve'. In West Germanic languages, its meaning started varying following the different dialects. While Old English and Old Saxon kept the meaning 'to carve', which then evolved into 'to write', Old Dutch, Old Frisian and Old High German kept the meaning 'to scratch', and then evolved it. In Middle Dutch, the verb meant 'to turn, shave, plane' (of wood, as performed by turners), which developed into its modern Dutch meaning, 'to argue, quarrel, have a split, strike'. In Dutch, it is no longer current.
The verb should not be confused with rijten (“to rip, to tear”), which ultimately comes from Proto-Germanic *hrītaną. In German, the verbs descended from *hrītaną and *wrītaną merged into one: reißen.
|Inflection of wrijten (strong class 1)|
|present tense||past tense|
|1st person singular||wrijt||wreet|
|2nd person sing. (jij)||wrijt||wreet|
|2nd person sing. (u)||wrijt||wreet|
|2nd person sing. (gij)||wrijt||wreet|
|3rd person singular||wrijt||wreet|