ship·​wreck | \ ˈship-ˌrek How to pronounce shipwreck (audio) \

Definition of shipwreck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a wrecked ship or its parts
2 : the destruction or loss of a ship
3 : an irretrievable loss or failure


shipwrecked; shipwrecking; shipwrecks

Definition of shipwreck (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to experience shipwreck
b : ruin
2 : to destroy (a ship) by grounding or foundering

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Synonyms for shipwreck

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of shipwreck in a Sentence

Noun Only a few sailors survived the shipwreck. The crew narrowly avoided shipwreck. Divers searched the sunken shipwreck. Verb the yachtsman fell asleep at the wheel and shipwrecked his ketch on the rocks
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nearly 130 years later, the shipwreck still sits on the bottom of the North Dakota portion of the river and recently became visible to visitors, according to CBS Bismarck affiliate KXMB-TV. Sophie Reardon, CBS News, 1 Oct. 2021 George goes on a quest for the shipwreck of legendary sea captain Trumpet Tooter with help from a local fisherman, his niece and an extremely cute baby seal. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile, his heir William Aetheling was a fun-loving 17-year-old when his reckless partying led to the devastating shipwreck. Michelle Tauber,, 16 Sep. 2021 Also in the works are a scare zone named Sea of Souls (marauding pirates, restlessness, ghostly fate, horrific shipwreck) and a themed bar experience known as Longshoremen Tavern. Dewayne Bevil,, 4 Aug. 2021 While here, take a catamaran ride out to swim with the sea turtles and snorkel to view an abundance of marine life and a shipwreck under the surface. Rondel Holder, Travel + Leisure, 2 Aug. 2021 Recently, Cathy Draeger-Williams, an archeologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources authenticated the timber as part of a shipwreck. Carole Carlson,, 1 July 2021 This imagery contains huge areas with no shipwrecks, as well as the occasional shipwreck. Leila Character, The Conversation, 22 July 2021 The deadliest shipwreck so far this year took place on April 22 off Libya, when 130 people drowned despite the ship sending multiple distress calls. Samy Magdy, Star Tribune, 21 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sirens, as King reminds us, symbolized what earlier times regarded as the destructive sexuality of women: These enticing sweet singers lured the unwary to shipwreck, then clawed their bodies to pieces. Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2021 For sandy beaches and legendary surf conditions, to historic lighthouses, shipwreck diving sites, and wild horses, the Outer Banks is a unique East Coast beach vacation. Hannah Lee Leidy, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 May 2021 After a storm shipwrecked them, they were miraculously saved by a boat heading to the Bahamas — exactly the place where Sarah’s super evil dad Ward (Charles Esten) sent John B.’s gold. Kaitlin Reilly,, 8 May 2020 The valley—after the water returns to the steep-sided channel—is hard to cross, all sucking mud and shipwrecked trees in a prairie that is accustomed to being dry and treeless. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, 16 Apr. 2020 The gorgeous 2018 card game Shipwreck Arcana is a great example of a cooperative survival game: To win, at least one person must survive being shipwrecked. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2019 Eliason and Smith have been part of a number of Lake Superior shipwreck discoveries in recent years, including the 2013 find of the freighter Henry B. Smith that had vanished with all hands a century before. Andrew Krueger,, 26 Sep. 2019 The title refers to Prospero’s ability to control the climate, causing the storm that shipwrecks his enemies on the island and allows him to turn the tables on them. Terry Byrne,, 21 Aug. 2019 In the play, Viola and her twin brother, Sebastian, are shipwrecked and separated. Jesse Wright,, 16 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shipwreck.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shipwreck


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shipwreck


alteration of earlier shipwrack, from Middle English schipwrak, from Old English scipwræc, from scip ship + wræc something driven by the sea — more at wrack

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Time Traveler for shipwreck

Time Traveler

The first known use of shipwreck was in the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near shipwreck




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Statistics for shipwreck

Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shipwreck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for shipwreck



English Language Learners Definition of shipwreck

: the destruction or sinking of a ship at sea
: a ruined or destroyed ship


ship·​wreck | \ ˈship-ˌrek How to pronounce shipwreck (audio) \

Kids Definition of shipwreck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ruined or destroyed ship Divers explored the shipwreck.
2 : the loss or destruction of a ship Only a few sailors survived the shipwreck.


shipwrecked; shipwrecking

Kids Definition of shipwreck (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause to experience destruction of a ship and usually be left stranded The crew was shipwrecked.
2 : to ruin or destroy (a ship) by crashing ashore or sinking

More from Merriam-Webster on shipwreck

Nglish: Translation of shipwreck for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shipwreck for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shipwreck


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