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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web There is something nauseating about the familiarity of the aftermath of mass shootings—a wretched feeling that’s been amplified by the slaughter of 19 fourth graders and two teachers in Texas on Tuesday. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 25 May 2022 It’s a scene of bureaucratic hellishness about poverty’s wretched cycle of hopelessness that wouldn’t be out of place in a chilly Romanian satire. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Eleanor showed her own family, especially her six children, while campaigning tirelessly on behalf of the wretched and the downtrodden. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 At that point, even after a crushing loss to the wretched Orlando Magic, the Cavaliers still had two games left. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 9 Apr. 2022 In this wretched place, Mary managed to educate her children and find a path to freedom, moving them and herself to the free state of Pennsylvania with Robert’s blessing prior to the Civil War. Kristen Green, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Apr. 2022 News about the media business is, as usual, pretty wretched. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 7 Oct. 2021 The Sandinistas’ political prisoners are kept in wretched conditions. Nr Editors, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Last season, the Wolverines won 70-53 in West Lafayette behind Isaiah Livers' double-double and Purdue's wretched offense. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

30 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wretched.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wretched. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for wretched


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

More from Merriam-Webster on wretched

Nglish: Translation of wretched for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wretched for Arabic Speakers


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