wreck

1 of 2

noun

1
: something cast up on the land by the sea especially after a shipwreck
2
a
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
3
a
: 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

wreck

2 of 2

verb

wrecked; wrecking; wrecks

transitive verb

1
: to cast ashore
2
a
: to reduce to a ruinous state by or as if by violence
a country wrecked by war
ambition wrecked his marriage
b
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

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
It was sunk in 2017 to be a dive site and is 25 meters from another wreck called the Taurus. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 20 Feb. 2024 Officers pulled the 14-year-old driver and an 18-year-old passenger from the burning wreck, police told KTTV. Don Sweeney, Sacramento Bee, 20 Feb. 2024 In the Pino case, officers also didn’t conduct a field sobriety test at the crash scene or hours later on Elliott Key where officers interviewed passengers and Pino, all who had just been pulled from the bay after a harrowing wreck. David Goodhue, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 The wrecks of the train and the bus lay near the tracks for fans to visit. 17 of 17 Schindler’s List’s Plaszow Camp in Krakow, Poland The remains of the real Nazi concentration camp were destroyed, so the filmmakers decided to create a replica. Jordi Lippe, Travel + Leisure, 16 Feb. 2024 Shipworms have traditionally only been found in warmer waters, meaning wrecks in the colder waters were considered safe from their destruction. Laura Paddison, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024 Neil Burgess, president of the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, tells the CBC that Hurricane Fiona could have initially dredged up the wreck in 2022. Margherita Bassi, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Feb. 2024 The wreck was reported at 12:40 a.m. on northbound Interstate 5 near the Lebec off-ramp. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, 6 Feb. 2024 Three were killed in car wrecks, including one person who hydroplaned Thursday in San Mateo County, Ferguson said, and two who died Monday while driving in Southern California, possibly referring to incidents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024
Verb
Nothing can wreck your life like a Final Fantasy game because there’s nothing quite like a Final Fantasy story. Gene Park, Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2024 But football was cast aside after the wideout wrecked his knee. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 Alastair Cook’s men were in a wretched state, withered and wrecked by a rampant Mitchell Johnson, an aging squad and ‘deserted’ by a struggling Jonathan Trott and then Graeme Swann, two of the first names on the sheet in the home series just months before. Tim Ellis, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Lael Brainard, director of the White House National Economic Council, told a group of reporters last week that skeptics about the economy had overlooked how Biden’s policies boosted the labor market and repaired supply chains wrecked by the pandemic. Josh Boak, Fortune, 1 Feb. 2024 Saba is as thunderstruck by the mountains of the Caucasus as he is emotionally wrecked by ever-deeper examples of war’s consequences. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Over more than 100 days, Palestinians in Gaza have seen mass displacement, neighborhoods turned to ash and rubble, entire families erased by war, a surge in deadly disease and the medical system wrecked by bombardment. Sana Noor Haq, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 And that even with all the best intentions there can be some destruction too – take my money, wreck my Sundays. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 8 Feb. 2024 Warren wrecked the car — right as police made it to the scene, the department said. Makiya Seminera, Charlotte Observer, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wreck.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near wreck

Cite this Entry

“Wreck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wreck. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

wreck

1 of 2 noun
1
: goods cast upon the land by the sea after a shipwreck
2
3
: the action of wrecking
4
: a destructive crash
was injured in a car wreck
5
: the broken remains of something wrecked or ruined
6
: something in a state of ruin or decay
the old house was a wreck
7
: a person in poor health or spirits

wreck

2 of 2 verb
1
a
: to reduce to a state of ruin by or as if by violence
a country wrecked by war
jealousy wrecked their friendship
2
: to damage or ruin by a wreck
wrecked the car

More from Merriam-Webster on wreck

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