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

  • transitive v. To inflict (vengeance or punishment) upon a person.
  • transitive v. To express or gratify (anger, malevolence, or resentment); vent.
  • transitive v. To bring about; cause: wreak havoc.
  • transitive v. Archaic To take vengeance for; avenge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Punishment; retribution, revenge.
  • v. To cause, inflict or let out, especially if causing harm or injury.
  • v. To inflict or take vengeance on.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Revenge; vengeance; furious passion; resentment.
  • intransitive v. To reck; to care.
  • transitive v. To revenge; to avenge.
  • transitive v. To execute in vengeance or passion; to inflict; to hurl or drive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To revenge; avenge: with either the offense or the person offended as the object.
  • To execute; inflict: as, to wreak vengeance on an enemy.
  • An erroneous spelling of reck.
  • n. Revenge; vengeance; furious passion; resentment.
  • n. Punishment.

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

  • v. cause to happen or to occur as a consequence


Middle English wreken, from Old English wrecan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English wrecan, from Proto-Germanic *wrekanan, from root *wrek-, from Proto-Indo-European *wreg- (“work, do”). Cognate via Proto-Germanic with Dutch wreken, German rächen, Swedish vräka; cognate via PIE with Latin urgere (English urge), and distantly cognate to English wreck. (Wiktionary)
A Northern variant of wreche, influenced later by Etymology 1, above. (Wiktionary)



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