from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The destruction of a ship, as by storm or collision.
  • noun The remains of a wrecked ship.
  • noun A complete failure or ruin.
  • transitive verb To cause a ship to be destroyed, as by storm or collision.
  • transitive verb To cause (a passenger or sailor on a ship) to suffer shipwreck.
  • transitive verb To ruin utterly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The destruction or loss of a vessel by foundering at sea, by striking on a rock or shoal, or the like; the wreck of a ship.
  • noun Total failure; destruction; ruin.
  • noun Shattered remains, as of a vessel which has been wrecked; wreck; wreckage.
  • To wreck; subject to the perils and distress of shipwreck.
  • To wreck; ruin; destroy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The breaking in pieces, or shattering, of a ship or other vessel by being cast ashore or driven against rocks, shoals, etc., by the violence of the winds and waves.
  • noun A ship wrecked or destroyed upon the water, or the parts of such a ship; wreckage.
  • noun Fig.: Destruction; ruin; irretrievable loss.
  • transitive verb To destroy, as a ship at sea, by running ashore or on rocks or sandbanks, or by the force of wind and waves in a tempest.
  • transitive verb To cause to experience shipwreck, as sailors or passengers. Hence, to cause to suffer some disaster or loss; to destroy or ruin, as if by shipwreck; to wreck.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A boat that has sunk or run aground so that it is no longer seaworthy.
  • noun An event where a ship sinks or runs aground.
  • verb To wreck a boat through a collision or mishap.

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

  • noun an accident that destroys a ship at sea
  • verb cause to experience shipwreck
  • noun an irretrievable loss
  • verb destroy a ship
  • verb suffer failure, as in some enterprise
  • verb ruin utterly
  • noun a wrecked ship (or a part of one)


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English schip-wracke, from Old English scipwræc ("jetsam"), equivalent to ship +‎ wrack. Cognate with Scots schip-wrak ("to shipwreck", v), Swedish skeppsvrak ("shipwreck").


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  • One of my most enduring memories is of exploring the dunes along North Carolina's Outer Banks and finding partially buried wooden shipwrecks, which we were certain were pirate ships. See Free Association.

    February 7, 2008

  • "Only that which cannot be lost in a shipwreck is yours."

    - al-Ghazzali, quoted in in Llewellyan Vaughan-Lee, 'Travelling the Path of Love'.

    November 3, 2008