Wrought iron is characterised by how it has been squashed/beaten into shape.

Also, one could wring water from a cloth by strong physical manipulations.

I assume these words have a common origin, but I don't think we say "the blacksmith is busy wringing iron" or "the cloth has been wrought to merely damp".

What's the story here? Why don't we say "wringing iron" or "a wrought cloth"?

  • 1
    They both arise from "worked", in the sense of "put effort in to change them to suit your needs". More details are available in their established etymologies; any good dictionary will provide those, but I personally find Etymonline most convenient.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 8, 2017 at 15:28
  • 2
    @DanBron Only wrought is derived from the OE ancestor of work; wring is derived from a distinct OE verb. Both are derived from the same PIE root, but the nasalized version from which wring derives is held to have already been distinct in PIE. Mar 8, 2017 at 16:39
  • By the way, any comparison to wrought should have been with wrung, not wring or wringing Compared to wringing we should expect wrighting but later English seems to think cartwright, millwright, playwright, shipwright, wainwright, wheelwright and just plain wright should be cart maker, mill worker, play maker, ship worker, wain maker, wheelworker and the like, or just plain worker Jun 18, 2017 at 19:11


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.