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Definitions of 'wreaked havoc'

Definition of 'wreaked havoc'
From: GCIDE
Wreak \Wreak\ (r[=e]k), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Wreaked (r[=e]kt); p. pr. & vb. n. Wreaking.] [OE. wreken to revenge, punish, drive out, AS. wrecan; akin to OFries. wreka, OS. wrekan to punish, D. wreken to avenge, G. r[aum]chen, OHG. rehhan, Icel. reka to drive, to take vengeance, Goth. wrikan to persecute, Lith. vargas distress, vargti to suffer distress, L. urgere to drive, urge, Gr. e'i`rgein to shut, Skr. v[.r]j to turn away. Cf. Urge, Wreck, Wretch.] [1913 Webster] 1. To revenge; to avenge. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] He should wreake him on his foes. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Another's wrongs to wreak upon thyself. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] Come wreak his loss, whom bootless ye complain. --Fairfax. [1913 Webster] 2. To inflict or execute, especially in vengeance or passion; to hurl or drive; as, to wreak vengeance on an enemy; to wreak havoc. [1913 Webster] Note: The word wrought is sometimes assumed to be the past tense of wreak, as the phrases wreak havoc and wrought havoc are both commonly used. In fact, wrought havoc is not as common as wreaked havoc. Whether wrought is considered as the past tense of wreak or of work, wrought havoc has essentially the same meaning. Etymologically, however, wrought is only the past tense of work. [PJC] On me let Death wreak all his rage. --Milton. [1913 Webster] Now was the time to be avenged on his old enemy, to wreak a grudge of seventeen years. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] But gather all thy powers, And wreak them on the verse that thou dost weave. --Bryant. [1913 Webster]
Definition of 'wreaked havoc'
From: GCIDE
Wrought \Wrought\, imp. & p. p. of Work; as, What hath God wrought?. [1913 Webster] Note: In 1837, Samuel F. B. Morse, an American artist, devised a working electric telegraph, based on a rough knowledge of electrical circuits, electromagnetic induction coils, and a scheme to encode alphabetic letters. He and his collaborators and backers campaigned for years before persuading the federal government to fund a demonstration. Finally, on May 24, 1844, they sent the first official long-distance telegraphic message in Morse code, "What hath God wrought," through a copper wire strung between Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland. The phrase was taken from the Bible, Numbers 23:23. It had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellworth, the young daughter of a friend. --Library of Congress, American Memories series (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/may24.html). [PJC] Alas that I was wrought [created]! --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Note: The word wrought is sometimes assumed to be the past tense of wreak, as the phrases wreak havoc and wrought havoc are both commonly used. In fact, wrought havoc is not as common as wreaked havoc. Whether wrought is considered as the past tense of wreak or of work, wrought havoc has essentially the same meaning, encouraging the confusion. Etymologically, however, wrought is only the past tense of work. [PJC] Wrought and wreaked havoc Recently, we mentioned that something had wreaked havoc with our PC. We were fairly quickly corrected by someone who said, "Shouldn't that be wrought havoc?" The answer is no, because either wreaked or wrought is fine here. A misconception often arises because wrought is wrongly assumed to be the past participle of wreak. In fact wrought is the past participle of an early version of the word work! Wreak comes from Old English wrecan "drive out, punish, avenge", which derives ultimately from the Indo-European root *wreg- "push, shove, drive, track down". Latin urgere "to urge" comes from the same source, giving English urge. Interestingly, wreak is also related to wrack and wreck. The phrase wreak havoc was first used by Agatha Christie in 1923. Wrought, on the other hand, arose in the 13th century as the past participle of wirchen, Old English for "work". In the 15th century worked came into use as the past participle of work, but wrought survived in such phrases as finely-wrought, hand-wrought, and, of course, wrought havoc . . . . Havoc, by the way, comes from Anglo-French havok, which derived from the phrase crier havot "to cry havoc". This meant "to give the army the order to begin seizing spoil, or to pillage". It is thought that this exclamation was Germanic in origin, but that's all that anyone will say about it! The destruction associated with pillaging came to be applied metaphorically to havoc, giving the word its current meaning. --The Institute for Etymological Research and Education (http://www.takeourword.com/Issue048.html) [PJC]
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