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This is one of several roots that had at their core the idea of:
turning, winding, bending
The most obvious English offspring are words like worm, warp, weird, wrestle, wrist and more (see below).
But also -ward, worry, worth and wrong belong to the family, each with their own… ahem… twist on the original sense.
But the root is also the origin of the Latin verb *vertere. This verb meant to bend and it’s the origin of dozens of words like versus, vertebra, invert, subvert, versatile and me … I mean… introvert.
The three most important relatives in German are werden (“turning toward, winding up” -> to become), der Wert (“what you give versus what you get” -> worth) and werfen (“winding motion with your hand”- to throw).
Here’s an (incomplete) list of English relatives and how they tie in with the original sense:
- -ward (“winding in a direction”)
- weird (“twisted”)
- worm, vermin
- wrestle, wrist (“winding, bending”)
- wrinkle, wriggle, wrangle,… (all about “twisting” in some way)
- wrong (originally “twisting your mouth”)
- worry (originally “to strangle the throat”)
- worth (originally what you give “versus” something else)
- versus (“turn toward”)
- version (“what you turn out, rendition”)
- vertebra (“what bends”)
- versatile (“turns in many directions”)
- invert (“turn backward”)
- convert (“to turn to”)
- extrovert (“turned outward”)
- introvert (me)
- pervert (“turned beyond”)
- subvert (Star Wars expectations)
- anniversary (“turn of the year”)
- universe (all wrapped in one)