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wreak

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verb \ˈrēk also ˈrek\

Simple Definition of wreak

  • : to cause (something very harmful or damaging)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of wreak

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a archaic :  avenge b :  to cause the infliction of (vengeance or punishment)

  3. 2 :  to give free play or course to (malevolent feeling)

  4. 3 :  bring about, cause <wreak havoc>

Examples of wreak in a sentence

  1. Gangs have been wreaking mayhem in the city.



Did You Know?

Wreak is a venerable word that first appeared in Old English as wrecan, meaning "to drive, drive out, punish, or avenge." "Wrecan" is related to a number of similar words in the Germanic languages, including Middle Dutch "wreken" ("to punish, avenge"), Old High German rehhan ("to avenge"), Old Norse "reka" ("to drive, push, or avenge"), and Gothic "wrikan" ("to persecute"). It may also be related to Latin urgēre ("to drive on, urge"), the source of the English verb "urge." In modern English, vengeance is a common object of the verb "wreak," reflecting one of its earlier uses in the sense "to take vengeance for" - as when Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus proclaims "We will solicit heaven, and move the gods / To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs."

Origin and Etymology of wreak

Middle English wreken, from Old English wrecan to drive, punish, avenge; akin to Old High German rehhan to avenge and perhaps to Latin urgēre to drive on, urge


First Known Use: before 12th century



WREAK Defined for Kids

wreak

play
verb \ˈrēk\

Definition of wreak for Students

wreaked

wreaking

  1. :  to bring down as or as if punishment <The storm wreaked destruction.>




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