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wr-

common Germanic consonantal combination, especially to start words implying twisting or distortion. Retained in Dutch and Flemish; reduced to -r- in Old High German and Old Norse; represented by vr- in Danish and Swedish; still spelled -wr- in English, but except in dialects the -w- ceased to be pronounced c.1450-1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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