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The past participle of Middle English werken (to work), from Old English wyrċan (past tense worhte, past participle ġeworht), from Proto-West Germanic *wurkijan, from Proto-Germanic *wurkijaną (to work), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (to work).

Cognate with wright (as in wheelwright etc.), Dutch gewrocht, archaic past participle of werken (archaic past tense wrocht), Low German wracht, archaic past participle of warken (archaic past tense wrach, archaic past participle wracht).



wrought (comparative more wrought, superlative most wrought)

  1. Having been worked or prepared somehow.
    Is that fence made out of wrought iron?


Derived terms[edit]




  1. simple past and past participle of work
    What hath God wrought?
    • 1886 May 1 – July 31, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: [], London, Paris: Cassell & Company, published 1886, →OCLC:
      It was no very easy task, for the skiff lay amidships and was full of hamper, and the breaking of the heavier seas continually forced us to give over and hold on; but we all wrought like horses while we could.
    • 1899, John Buchan, Summer Weather:
      I need not describe his attainments as sheep-farmer or shepherd; he scarcely learned the barest rudiments; and the sage master of Clachlands trusted him only when he wrought under his own vigilant eye.
    • 2013 June 29, “High and wet”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 28:
      Floods in northern India, mostly in the small state of Uttarakhand, have wrought disaster on an enormous scale. The early, intense onset of the monsoon on June 14th swelled rivers, washing away roads, bridges, hotels and even whole villages. Rock-filled torrents smashed vehicles and homes, burying victims under rubble and sludge.
    • 2001, Josef Wiesehofer, Ancient Persia, I.B.Tauris, →ISBN, page 27:
      The goldsmiths who wrought the gold, those were Medes and Egyptians. The men who wrought the wood, those were Sardians and Egyptians. The men who wrought the baked brick, those were Babylonians.
  2. (see usage notes) simple past and past participle of wreak
    • 2008, The Parliamentary Debates : House of Lords official report, page 85:
      We are, however, in danger of ignoring the more fundamental lessons, forgetting the imperative to root out and to curb within our societies at every level—most importantly that of the individual—the greed, avarice, corruption and hubris which has wrought and will wreak so much havoc, not just in our relatively rich countries, but has its impact most unfairly on the poorer, unsophisticated countries.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In contemporary English, wrought is usually not interchangeable with worked, the more common past and past participle of work.
  • While wrought usually lends a more archaic flavor, it is still fairly common in certain transitive constructions, e.g. in to work miracles.
  • Because the phrase work havoc has become uncommon, its past tense wrought havoc is now sometimes misinterpreted as being a past tense of wreak havoc.

Derived terms[edit]