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From Middle Dutch writen, from Old Dutch *wrītan, from Proto-Germanic *wrītaną.

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 In Dutch, it is no longer current.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.




  1. (rare) to argue, quarrel


Inflection of wrijten (strong class 1)
infinitive wrijten
past singular wreet
past participle gewreten
infinitive wrijten
gerund wrijten n
verbal noun
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
plural wrijten wreten
subjunctive sing.1 wrijte wrete
subjunctive plur.1 wrijten wreten
imperative sing. wrijt
imperative plur.1 wrijt
participles wrijtend gewreten
1) Archaic.