- to inflict or execute (punishment, vengeance, etc.): They wreaked havoc on the enemy.
- to carry out the promptings of (one's rage, ill humor, will, desire, etc.), as on a victim or object: He wreaked his anger on the office staff.
Origin of wreak
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wreaked
In the later stages of the war, the American-made Stinger missile was introduced and wreaked havoc among the Soviet helicopters.CIA Agents Assess: How Real Is ‘Homeland’?
Chuck Cogan, John MacGaffin
December 15, 2014
Boring from within, they have wreaked far greater damage on Washington than any Confederate victories.The South Has Indeed Risen Again and It’s Called the Tea Party
December 8, 2013
God only knows what kind of havoc he would have wreaked had he kept shimmying his way up the political pole.Paul Ryan Aide Charged With Stalking, Harassing Women for Nude Photos
April 25, 2013
The Mexican military counterattacked, and Apaches wreaked bloody vengeance.The Bin Laden of His Day? A New Biography of Geronimo
December 5, 2012
After all, they say, it was the Northern states that once wreaked havoc and destruction on Louisiana during the Civil War.Is Europe's Troubled Marriage Doomed?
November 6, 2011
So she seized the umbrella, and wreaked her vengeance on it.The Wonders of the Jungle, Book Two
Prince Sarath Ghosh
Vengeance can still be wreaked—forgiveness may still be won.Cleopatra
H. Rider Haggard
I could have wreaked a cruel vengeance upon the body for the sin of the mind.The Return Of The Soul
Robert S. Hichens
The curse of Welford's vengeance was on her, and it was wreaked to the last!Paul Clifford, Complete
After all, even though she wreaked vengeance as she fell, what would it avail her?A German Pompadour
- to inflict (vengeance, etc) or to cause (chaos, etc)to wreak havoc on the enemy
- to express, or gratify (anger, hatred, etc)
- archaic to take vengeance for
Word Origin and History for wreaked
Old English wrecan "avenge," originally "to drive, drive out, punish" (class V strong verb; past tense wræc, past participle wrecen), from Proto-Germanic *wrekanan (cf. Old Saxon wrekan, Old Norse reka, Old Frisian wreka, Middle Dutch wreken "to drive, push, compel, pursue, throw," Old High German rehhan, German rächen "to avenge," Gothic wrikan "to persecute"), from PIE root *werg- "to work, to do" (cf. Lithuanian vergas "distress," vergas "slave;" Old Church Slavonic vragu "enemy;" Latin urgere; see urge (v.)). Meaning "inflict or take vengeance," with on, is recorded from late 15c.; that of "inflict or cause (damage or destruction)" is attested from 1817.