wretch·​ed | \ ˈre-chəd How to pronounce wretched (audio) \

Definition of wretched

1 : deeply afflicted, dejected, or distressed in body or mind
2 : extremely or deplorably bad or distressing was in wretched health a wretched accident
3a : being or appearing mean, miserable, or contemptible dressed in wretched old clothes
b : very poor in quality or ability : inferior wretched workmanship

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Other Words from wretched

wretchedly adverb
wretchedness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for wretched



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Examples of wretched in a Sentence

The slums were filled with poor, wretched children. I don't know what's wrong with her, but she looks wretched. families living in wretched poverty the wretched conditions of the refugee camp How did we get into this wretched state of affairs? What a wretched performance that was. That movie was positively wretched.
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Recent Examples on the Web The real and wretched problem, of course, was that the lake itself was polluted—and individuals can't sue over that. Clive Thompson, Wired, "Nature Deserves Legal Rights—and the Power to Fight Back," 17 Dec. 2019 The club have taken just nine points from eight Premier League games so far, while the run of wretched form stretches back to the closing stages of the 2018/19 campaign. SI.com, "Exclusive: Manchester United's Stance on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Potential Replacements & Recent Form," 17 Oct. 2019 The Lib Dems, whose leader Jo Swinson helped to bring forward an early election, had a wretched night. The Economist, "Boris Johnson’s big win," 13 Dec. 2019 Consider how many wretched teams there have been in the last 30 years. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "NFL power rankings for Week 15: Ravens and 49ers take top 2 spots, while the Bears inch up to No. 14," 10 Dec. 2019 Four years after the convention wrote that wretched document, the Daughters of the Confederacy dedicated that monument in Linn Park. Kyle Whitmire, al, "This is our history: How white supremacy still thrives in Alabama," 4 Dec. 2019 All of a sudden, the Wild, who got off to a wretched 1-6-0 start this season, are back to .500 maybe a little bit earlier than expected, and firmly back in the playoff race moving forward. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Wild avoid Thanksgiving hangover with rout of Senators," 29 Nov. 2019 But our ambitious and in-depth reporting shows El Mencho's CJNG cartel was, by far, the dominant provider of that wretched poison at that time in Kentucky. courier-journal.com, "Why is The Courier Journal reporting on a deadly Mexican drug cartel? Because it's here," 25 Nov. 2019 This is Matt Patricia’s defense, but if Patricia survives this season someone will have to pay a price for the team’s wretched defensive performance. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Lions stock watch: Paul Pasqualoni could be Matt Patricia's fall guy," 18 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wretched.' 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 wretched

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wretched

Middle English wrecched, expansion (with -ed -ed entry 1) of wrecche, adjective, in same sense, going back to Old English wrecc, derivative from the base of wræcca, wrecce "exile, stranger, despicable person" — more at wretch-

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Time Traveler for wretched

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wretched

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wretched.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wretched. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for wretched


How to pronounce wretched (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wretched

: very unhappy, ill, etc.
: very bad or unpleasant
: very poor in quality or ability


wretch·​ed | \ ˈre-chəd How to pronounce wretched (audio) \

Kids Definition of wretched

1 : very unhappy or unfortunate : suffering greatly
2 : causing misery or distress wretched living conditions
3 : of very poor quality : inferior wretched food I have a wretched memory.

Other Words from wretched

wretchedly adverb
wretchedness noun

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Comments on wretched

What made you want to look up wretched? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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