Middle English Dictionary Entry

wrīthen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. iwrithen v., wrethen v.(2).
(a) To twist (sth.) into the shape of a wreath or coil; also, fashion (sth.) into a braid, weave, plait; ppl. writhen, twisted, coiled; also, woven, plaited; of an ornamental object: decorated with a design in the form of a wreath; (b) to twist (sth.) out of shape, deform, make crooked or tortuous; also fig.; ppl. writhen, crooked, full of twists and turnings; also, fig. morally twisted, distorted [last quot.]; (c) to twist (sth.) sharply or out of its proper position, twist so as to break; ~ in sonder (in two, o two, on two), ~ the hed to the nekke, break the neck; break (someone’s) neck; (d) ?to press or squeeze moisture from something [1st quot.; may belong to sense 2.(c)]; ppl. writhen, wrung out; pressed; (e) ~ oute, to emit (smoke and fire) in twisted or coiled plumes.
(a) To twist (two or more things) together, intertwine, interlace; also, twist (one’s hands) together in writhing motion as a show of emotion, wring; also in fig. context; ~ togeder; (b) to be wrapped (about sth.), twine; also, wind (sth. around sth. else), entwine; (c) to bind (sth. to sth.); wrap (sth. in or with sth.), swathe; also, ?confine (sb. in shackles) [quot. c1400]; also fig. [quot. c1425]; cover (sth.) [quot. 1440].
To form (sth.) into a curved or bowed shape, bend; also, curve the hand into (a fist); ppl. writhinge, pliant, bending;—in fig. context; ppl. writhen as adj., of a fist: curled up, clenched.
(a) To dislodge (sb.) from a position; throw or wrestle (sb. to the ground); also fig. [last quot.]; wrest (sth. out of someone’s grasp); also, fig. extort (love from sb.); (b) to bore (through a bodily member) by means of a rotary motion [1st quot.]; rotate (sth.); (c) to tighten ropes by applying a twisting motion to a juncture.
(a) To twist about; writhe in anguish or agony; also, roll around, grapple with an opponent; ~ abouten; (b) to proceed by undulating motion, wriggle; also, move in a convoluted or contorted manner; stretch [quot. c1400(?c1390)]; turn or move about in laborious exertions [2nd quot.]; ~ oute; (c) to turn away sharply, execute an evasive maneuver; turn (from sb. or sth.); also in fig. context; ~ awei (oute); (d) to turn (one’s face or head) away, avert; eschew (wrongful acts); also, fig. abandon (one’s reason) [quot. ?c1450]; ~ awei; (e) ?to advance [could perh. also be construed as sense 4.(a)].
(a) To tend (toward carnality or sins), turn; (b) ?to force (one’s will on sb.); (c) to become; ~ hard on herte; ~ to water, dissolve into tears; (d) to be mutable, change.