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Middle English wrek, from Anglo-Norman wrek, from Old Norse *wrek (Norwegian and Icelandic rek, Swedish vrak), from Proto-Germanic *wrekaną, whence also Old English wrecan (English wreak), Old High German rehhan, Old Saxon wrekan, Gothic 𐍅𐍂𐌹𐌺𐌰𐌽 (wrikan).


  • enPR: rĕk, IPA(key): /ˈɹɛk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛk


wreck (plural wrecks)

  1. Something or someone that has been ruined.
    He was an emotional wreck after the death of his wife.
    Synonym: basket case, mess
  2. The remains of something that has been severely damaged or worn down.
    • Cowper
      To the fair haven of my native home, / The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come.
  3. An event in which something is damaged through collision.
    • Addison
      the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds
    • Spenser
      Hard and obstinate / As is a rock amidst the raging floods, / 'Gainst which a ship, of succour desolate, / Doth suffer wreck, both of herself and goods.
    • J. R. Green
      Its intellectual life was thus able to go on amidst the wreck of its political life.
  4. (law) Goods, etc. cast ashore by the sea after a shipwreck.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bouvier to this entry?)


Derived termsEdit



wreck (third-person singular simple present wrecks, present participle wrecking, simple past and past participle wrecked)

  1. To destroy violently; to cause severe damage to something, to a point where it no longer works, or is useless.
    He wrecked the car in a collision.
    That adulterous hussy wrecked my marriage!
    • Shakespeare
      Supposing that they saw the king's ship wrecked.
  2. To ruin or dilapidate.
  3. (Australia) To dismantle wrecked vehicles or other objects, to reclaim any useful parts.
  4. To involve in a wreck; hence, to cause to suffer ruin; to balk of success, and bring disaster on.
    • Daniel
      Weak and envied, if they should conspire, / They wreck themselves.



Derived termsEdit