- 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 wreaks
As long as the regime shells at will and wreaks havoc on the area, rebel control is only partial.In War Against Assad, Death Comes From Above
Clare Morgana Gillis
August 26, 2012
If so, a disaster would happen as Gaddafi wreaks revenge on his own people.Can Arabs Save Libya?
March 12, 2011
Purchased by a wealthy, unhappy, and clueless suburban couple, this self-possessed Emily wreaks sexually charged havoc.Emily Dickinson's Racy Side
March 1, 2010
Parkinson's wreaks havoc by affecting nerve cells in the brain that make the neurotransmitter called dopamine.A Bicycle Built for Parkinson's Relief
Daily Beast Promotions
December 11, 2009
How dreadful are its torments, when it wreaks all its anger upon the guilty!Sermons of Christmas Evans
This social writer has scorn, as an author should, and he wreaks it upon parishes.Ceres' Runaway
Surely a God who wreaks vengeance for one man's sin upon his innocent children cannot be a God of Justice!The Incarnate Purpose
G. H. Percival
For from one to two months in the spring, floating ice gives a great deal of trouble and wreaks disaster to the pontoon.The Conquest
Mr. Magoon is a writer of great fluency and sensibility, who "wreaks" his thoughts upon expression.
- 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 wreaks
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.