I have a hard time interpreting the meaning of "wrought", "in its own right" and "legal system after legal system" in the following sentence.

That inquiry is important in its own right, as the challenges wrought by platforms are upending significant areas of regulation in legal system after legal system.

Although I already know what "wrought" and "in its own right" mean, it's not easy to understand contextual meaning of those phrases.

  1. "wrought" can be used as both adjective and verb. In the sentence I quoted above, I think it is used as a verb. As a verb, "wrought" means 'work'. But it sounds weird if put 'worked' in place of 'wrought'. I guess the challenges wrought by platforms mean the challenges resulted from or caused by platforms. Please clarify this point.

  2. "in its own right" is used to say that you have something or achieve something on your own, without depending on other people. I felt the phrase "in its own right" in the sentence I quoted sounds weird or unnecessary. Am I right?

  3. I'm not sure how to interpret "(legal system) after legal system".

4 Answers 4


In this sentence, the phrases have the following meanings:

  • important in its own right
    → its own importance
  • wrought
    → created
  • in legal system after legal system
    → in one legal system after another   or
    → in many legal systems

So, to paraphrase:

That inquiry has its own importance, as the challenges created by platforms are upending significant areas of regulation in many legal systems.

What it means beyond that, I couldn't say without further context.


Wrought is an old word that isn't used much any more, when translated into a more modern form, you would use created, shaped, formed and done.

Legal system after legal system, is a variation "x after x" as in "time after time" or "case after case", and basically means "there are a lot of x's where this happens".


In this context, "wrought" is a mistake. "Wrought" can mean "made, formed, fashioned or manufactured; decorated or ornamented". (There are special meanings for phrases such as "wrought iron", "wrought gold" and "wrought-up".)

(The above quoted dictionary definitions are from Chambers.)

Sometimes people use "wrought" as if it were the past participle of "wreak". Havoc, chaos, destruction and the like are sometimes said to be "wrought" when the correct word is "wreaked". This might be the case here.

  • 4
    Wrought is the past tense and participle of "to work": From the OED entry for "work(v.)" Inflections: Past tense and past participle worked, (chiefly archaic) wrought. I. To act, do, function, operate. 1.a. transitive. To do, perform (a task, deed, process, etc.). Frequently with cognate object. Now archaic (frequently in past tense or past participle in form wrought). 1994 P. Derow tr. Herodotus in S. Hornblower Greek Historiogr. (1996) ii. 75 That great and wonderful works and deeds—wrought by both Greeks and barbarians—might not be uncelebrated.
    – Greybeard
    Jul 11, 2020 at 14:58

An important point about the phrase in its own right is that it can serve to draw the reader's attention to something that might otherwise be missed.

I felt the phrase "in its own right" in the sentence I quoted sounds weird or unnecessary. Am I right?

Not really; it sounds normal and necessary to me, as an example of this way of drawing attention to something.

In the absence of knowing the context (what "platforms" are referred to, for instance), let us say for the sake of discussion that the author is writing about offshore drilling rigs and a current problem caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Let us assume the author references various sources, one of which is a report of an inquiry into an accident on an oil rig 5 years ago.

Immediately before the quoted text, the author has perhaps been telling us why this inquiry is important in the context of the current oil rig problem. But by saying the inquiry "is important in its own right", the author is going further than that. The author is emphasizing than even without the current oil rig problem, that inquiry is important in a much wider context.

To understand the phrase even more fully, we can consider why it has been used, by looking at what comes next.

For example, the author may tell us the report is important in its own right and then go on to explain all the important aspects of the report. In that case the phrase has served to head up and justify the inclusion of details that deviate from the main discussion.

Alternatively, the author may wish to specifically avoid going into any detail about the report, precisely so as to avoid a distracting deviation. In that case the phrase can serve to justify excluding the details, as if to say, "I don't want you to miss the fact that this is an important report. However, although it has a bearing on this discussion, we are not going to cover its wider importance. Our focus here is this other discussion. Nevertheless, now that I've mentioned the report, before we drop it I want you to know that it's important in ways beyond those relating to the current discussion, and I urge you to research it and read up on it as a separate exercise from the current discussion—you should learn about that report in its own right."

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.