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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wretched

wretchedly adverb
wretchedness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for wretched



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web My purpose was to highlight wretched excess in mail-order packaging. Eric Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Column: A bold idea for alleviating Amazon guilt from the comfort of your couch," 30 Apr. 2021 The ex-Villarreal centre back has had a wretched time of injuries since arriving in the North West of England in 2016 with no signs of let-up. Liam Canning, Forbes, "Eric Bailly’s New Contract At Manchester United Is Good News For All," 27 Apr. 2021 Other times, it’s been wretched finishing that have ruined otherwise strong showings. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Jamie Benn nets game-winning OT goal as Stars outlast brilliance of Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier," 24 Apr. 2021 That year's Drew Bledsoe consolation prize, Mirer was wretched in four years with Seattle (20-31 record, 65.2 passer rating). Nate Davis, USA Today, "101 biggest NFL draft busts in history: Which gaffes stand out the most?," 12 Apr. 2021 Some of her classmates don’t know or understand all the wretched details and twists of fate Watson has endured. al, "Gaston’s ReAnna Watson becomes ‘perfect person’ despite tragedy," 10 Apr. 2021 Nothing could have prepared him for the wretched realities of trench warfare. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "C. S. Lewis as Anti-war Poet," 1 Apr. 2021 And if those enslaved tried to escape their wretched circumstances? Jamil Smith, Rolling Stone, "George Floyd’s Body Is On Trial For Its Own Murder," 9 Apr. 2021 The only victories so far are those being claimed by the I-told-you-so crowd that thought this team would be wretched. BostonGlobe.com, "How worried should we be about the Red Sox’ 0-3 start?," 5 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wretched

Time Traveler for wretched

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for wretched

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wretched.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wretched. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wretched



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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!