\ ˈrek How to pronounce wreck (audio) \

Definition of wreck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something cast up on the land by the sea especially after a shipwreck
2a : shipwreck
b : the action of wrecking or fact or state of being wrecked : destruction
c : a violent and destructive crash was injured in a car wreck
3a : a hulk or the ruins of a wrecked ship
b : the broken remains of something wrecked or otherwise ruined
c : something disabled or in a state of ruin or dilapidation the house was a wreck also : a person or animal of broken constitution, health, or spirits he's a nervous wreck


wrecked; wrecking; wrecks

Definition of wreck (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cast ashore
2a : to reduce to a ruinous state by or as if by violence a country wrecked by war ambition wrecked his marriage
b : shipwreck
c : to ruin, damage, or imperil by a wreck wrecked the car
3 : bring about, wreak wreck havoc

intransitive verb

1 : to become wrecked
2 : to rob, salvage, or repair wreckage or a wreck

Synonyms for wreck

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of wreck in a Sentence

Noun This car has never been in a wreck. The stress of her final exams made her a wreck. Dad was a nervous wreck on the day I had my surgery. Verb I wrecked my mother's car. Many houses were wrecked by the hurricane. The affair wrecked his marriage. Bad weather wrecked our vacation. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The lasting image from the Bruins’ disappointing first-round playoff exit was Brad Marchand choking back tears, the mere possibility that longtime teammate Patrice Bergeron might have played his final game leaving Marchand an emotional wreck. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 24 May 2022 The crash was the second fatal wreck at the intersection in less than two months and sparked a traffic study by county engineers. Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel, 16 May 2022 Reserve Mechanical also faulted the Tax Court for considering the fact that Peak did not have a history of significant losses, analogizing the situation to that of a driver being insured who had yet to have a wreck. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Fleeing the scene of a deadly wreck or collision is a crime in Texas, namely a second-degree felony known as failure to stop and render aid. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 12 May 2022 Some pieces were selected for further study; divers began returning others to the wreck. al, 12 May 2022 But they were arrested after a police chase and car wreck in Evansville, Indiana. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 10 May 2022 Soon afterwards, Casey and Vicky drove off, triggering a police pursuit that ended in a rollover wreck. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, 10 May 2022 After inmate Casey White, 38, and Lauderdale County Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White, 56, were spotted at a hotel, Casey White and Vicky White led police on a car chase that ended with a wreck, Indiana authorities said. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 10 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No matter how good the Cavs have been this season, overcoming every obstacle and planting their flag at the top of conference, eventually the loss of two starting-caliber guards was bound to wreck their chances. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 10 Feb. 2022 But the harder the Fed hits the brakes, the greater the risk of causing an accident that could potentially wreck the financial markets, the real economy, or both. Matt Egan, CNN, 25 Mar. 2022 Analysts in Latin America are skeptical that Mr. Putin would deploy weaponry to the region, in part because doing so could wreck much of the goodwill Russia has worked to create across Latin America. New York Times, 15 Feb. 2022 But when the active Christmas puppies prove to be too much for a working family, or when the cost of dog food is too high, paying a vet bill may wreck the budget. Beth Thames | Bethmthames@gmail.com, al, 19 Jan. 2022 Some tried to crash their vehicles into her car, hoping to wreck it and then force her to pay them for transportation. Deena Yellin, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2022 In December, the District of Columbia named Watkins in a lawsuit that accuses her and several members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys of conspiring to wreck the U.S. Capitol and injure metro police officers. John Caniglia, cleveland, 30 Dec. 2021 Those hesitations are unlikely to stop a plurality if not majority of congressional Republicans from forging ahead, but as the Democrats so painfully learned over the past year, a single holdout can wreck an entire agenda. Grayson Quay, The Week, 30 Jan. 2022 And air bases are relatively easy to shut down—even small amounts of debris can prove dangerous to high-performance jet engines, which can suck them in and wreck fast-rotating fan blades. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 15 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of wreck


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for wreck


Middle English wrec, wrek, borrowed from Anglo-French wrek & Medieval Latin wreccum, borrowed from Old Norse *wrek, rek, going back to *wrek-a- "something driven," derivative of Germanic *wrekan- "to drive out" — more at wreak


Middle English wrekkyd (past participle), probably derivative of wrek wreck entry 1

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Time Traveler for wreck

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

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wreck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wreck. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wreck


\ ˈrek How to pronounce wreck (audio) \

Kids Definition of wreck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the remains (as of a ship or vehicle) after heavy damage usually by storm, collision, or fire
2 : a person who is very tired, ill, worried, or unhappy I'm a nervous wreck.
3 : the action of damaging or destroying something A lower speed limit will reduce wrecks.
4 : something in a state of ruin The house is a wreck.


wrecked; wrecking

Kids Definition of wreck (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to damage or destroy by or as if by force or violence I wrecked my car.
2 : to bring to ruin or an end Our picnic was wrecked by the rain.

More from Merriam-Webster on wreck

Nglish: Translation of wreck for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wreck for Arabic Speakers


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