a base, despicable, or vile person; a miserable person
"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me. / I once was lost, but now am found, / Was blind but now I see." John Newton, Amazing Grace, 1779
"This kind of loss is so much part of a cyclist's life that it even seems pointless to get angry with the miserable wretch who stole it." Andrew Gimson, The London Evening Standard, January 10, 2012
About the Word:
Wretch has been part of English about as long as knave. Wretch's Old English ancestor meant "outcast; exile," which raises this question: Did our ancestors exile despicable people, or did those they exile become miserable as a result of their expulsion?