• synonyms


verb (used with object), un·der·worked, un·der·work·ing.
  1. to do less work on than is necessary or required: to underwork an idea.
  2. to employ inadequately: He underworks his mind and overworks his feet.
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verb (used without object), un·der·worked, un·der·work·ing.
  1. to do less work than is normal or proper: He is fat because he underworks and overeats.
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Origin of underwork

First recorded in 1495–1505; under- + work
Related formsun·der·work·er, noun


  1. Archaic except in some senses. a simple past tense and past participle of work.
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  1. worked.
  2. elaborated; embellished.
  3. not rough or crude.
  4. produced or shaped by beating with a hammer, as iron or silver articles.
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Origin of wrought

1200–50; Middle English wroght, metathetic variant of worht, past participle of worchen to work
Related formsin·ter·wrought, adjectiveself-wrought, adjectivesu·per·wrought, adjectiveun·der·wrought, adjectiveun·wrought, adjectivewell-wrought, adjective


2. See worked.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for underwrought


  1. archaic a past tense and past participle of work
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  1. metallurgy shaped by hammering or beating
  2. (often in combination) formed, fashioned, or worked as specifiedwell-wrought
  3. decorated or made with delicate care
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Word Origin

C16: variant of worht, from Old English geworht, past participle of (ge) wyrcan to work


Wrought is sometimes used as if it were the past tense and past participle of wreak as in the hurricane wrought havoc in coastal areas. Many people think this use is incorrect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for underwrought


mid-13c., from past participle of Middle English werken (see work).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper