from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of wrecking or the state of being wrecked; destruction.
  • n. Accidental destruction of a ship; a shipwreck.
  • n. The stranded hulk of a severely damaged ship.
  • n. Fragments of a ship or its cargo cast ashore by the sea after a shipwreck; wreckage.
  • n. The remains of something that has been wrecked or ruined.
  • n. Something shattered or dilapidated.
  • n. A person who is physically or mentally broken down or worn out.
  • transitive v. To cause the destruction of in or as if in a collision.
  • transitive v. To dismantle or raze; tear down.
  • transitive v. To cause to undergo ruin or disaster. See Synonyms at blast, ruin. See Usage Note at wreak.
  • intransitive v. To suffer destruction or ruin; become wrecked.
  • intransitive v. To work as a wrecker.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something or someone that has been ruined.
  • n. The remains of something that has been severely damaged or worn down.
  • n. An event in which something is damaged through collision.
  • v. To cause severe damage to something, to a point where it no longer works, or is useless.
  • v. To ruin or dilapidate.
  • v. To dismantle wrecked vehicles or other objects, to reclaim any useful parts. (Australia)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The destruction or injury of a vessel by being cast on shore, or on rocks, or by being disabled or sunk by the force of winds or waves; shipwreck.
  • n. Destruction or injury of anything, especially by violence; ruin.
  • n. The ruins of a ship stranded; a ship dashed against rocks or land, and broken, or otherwise rendered useless, by violence and fracture.
  • n. The remain of anything ruined or fatally injured.
  • n. Goods, etc., which, after a shipwreck, are cast upon the land by the sea.
  • v. See 2d & 3d wreak.
  • intransitive v. To suffer wreck or ruin.
  • intransitive v. To work upon a wreck, as in saving property or lives, or in plundering.
  • transitive v. To destroy, disable, or seriously damage, as a vessel, by driving it against the shore or on rocks, by causing it to become unseaworthy, to founder, or the like; to shipwreck.
  • transitive v. To bring wreck or ruin upon by any kind of violence; to destroy, as a railroad train.
  • transitive v. To involve in a wreck; hence, to cause to suffer ruin; to balk of success, and bring disaster on.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause the wreck of, as a vessel; suffer to be ruined or destroyed in the course of navigation or management: said specifically of the person under whose charge a vessel is at the time of its wreck, and usually implying blame, even in case of misfortune.
  • To cause the downfall or overthrow of; ruin; shatter; destroy; bring into a disabled or ruinous condition by any means: as, to wreck a railroad-train or a bank; to wreck the fortunes of a family.
  • To involve in a wreck; imperil or damage by wreck: as, a wrecked sailor; wrecked cargo
  • To suffer wreck or ruin.
  • n. The destruction, disorganization, disruption, or ruin of anything by force and violence; dilapidation: as, the wreck of a bridge; the wreck of one's fortunes.
  • n. That which is in a state of wreck or ruin, or remains from the operation of any destroying agency: as, the building is a mere wreck; he is but the wreck of his former self.
  • n. The partial or total destruction of a vessel at sea or in any navigable water, by any accident of navigation or by the force of the elements; shipwreck.
  • n. A vessel ruined by wreck; the hulk and spars, more or less dismembered and shattered, of a vessel cast away or completely disabled by breaching, staving, or otherwise breaking.
  • n. That which is east ashore by the sea; shipwrecked property, whether a part of the ship or of the cargo; wreckage; in old Eng. common law, derelict of the sea cast upon land within the body of a country, and not in the possession of the owner or his agents.
  • n. Seaweeds cast ashore by storms; wrack.
  • n. An obsolete form of wreak.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an accident that destroys a ship at sea
  • n. something or someone that has suffered ruin or dilapidation
  • n. a serious accident (usually involving one or more vehicles)
  • n. a ship that has been destroyed at sea
  • v. smash or break forcefully


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English wrek, from Anglo-Norman wrec, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse rec, wreckage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English wrek, from Anglo-Norman wrec, from Old Norse *wrek (Norwegian and Icelandic rek, Swedish vrak), from Proto-Germanic, from Proto-Indo-European. Distantly related to wreak.



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  • What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck!

    January 7, 2010