Old English wryhta, wrihta (Northumbrian wyrchta, Kentish werhta) "worker," variant of earlier wyhrta "maker," from wyrcan "to work" (see work (v.)). Now usually in combinations (wheelwright, playwright, etc.) or as a surname. A common West Germanic word; cognate with Old Saxon wurhito, Old Frisian wrichta, Old High German wurhto.
Smith was the general term for a worker in metals, and wright for one who worked in wood, and other materials. Hence, in the later English period, smith (which, in Anglo-Saxon, when used without any characteristic addition, was understood as applying more particularly to the worker in iron,) became the particular name of a blacksmith, and wright of a carpenter, as it is still in Scotland. [Thomas Wright, "Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies," 1884]
It forms all or part of: allergic; allergy; argon; boulevard; bulwark; cholinergic; demiurge; dramaturge; energy; erg (n.1) "unit of energy;" ergative; ergonomics; ergophobia; George; georgic; handiwork; irk; lethargic; lethargy; liturgy; metallurgy; organ; organelle; organic; organism; organize; orgy; surgeon; surgery; synergism; synergy; thaumaturge; work; wright; wrought; zymurgy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek ergon "work," orgia "religious performances;" Armenian gorc "work;" Avestan vareza "work, activity;" Gothic waurkjan, Old English wyrcan "to work," Old English weorc "deed, action, something done;" Old Norse yrka "work, take effect."
a fusion of Old English wyrcan (past tense worhte, past participle geworht) "prepare, perform, do, make, construct, produce; strive after" (from Proto-Germanic *wurkjanan); and Old English wircan (Mercian) "to operate, function, set in motion," a secondary verb formed relatively late from Proto-Germanic noun *werkan (see work (n.)).
Sense of "perform physical labor" was in Old English, as was sense "ply one's trade" and "exert creative power, be a creator." Transitive sense "manipulate (physical substances) into a desired state or form" was in Old English. Meaning "have the expected or desired effect" is from late 14c. In Middle English also "perform sexually" (mid-13c.). Related: Worked (15c.); wrought; working.
To work in "insert, introduce or intermix," as one material with another, is by 1670s; hence the figurative sense "cause to enter or penetrate by repeated efforts." To work up (transitive) "bring into some state or condition" is by 1590s of material things, 1690s of immaterial things; hence "bring by labor or special effort to a higher state or condition" (1660s). The meaning "excite, stir up, raise, rouse" is from c. 1600. To work over "beat up, thrash" is from 1927. To work against "attempt to subvert" is from late 14c.
To work out "bring about or procure (a result) by continued labor or effort" is by 1530s. As "bring to a fuller or finished state, elaborate, develop," by 1821. Meaning "to solve, calculate the solution to" a problem or question is by 1848. Intransitive sense "make its way out" is from c. 1600; the sense of "succeed" is attested by 1909. Sense of "exhaust (a mine, etc.) by working it" is from 1540s. The pugilistic sense of "box for practice (rather than in a contest) is by 1927, hence the general sense of "practice, rehearse" (1929) and that of "take exercise" (by 1948).
also dedal, 1580s, "skillful, cunning," from Latin daedalus, from Greek daidalos "skillful, cunningly wrought." Also (1610s) an Englished form of the name Daedalus from Greek mythology.
Indian coin, the standard unit of value, 1610s, from Hindi or Urdu rupiyah, from Sanskrit rupyah "wrought silver," perhaps originally "something provided with an image, a coin," from rupah "shape, likeness, image."