- a deplorably unfortunate or unhappy person.
- a person of despicable or base character.
Origin of wretch
Examples from the Web for wretch
So you are the one who is at the bottom of this, you wretch you!Meet 'The Queen of Thieves' Marm Mandelbaum, New York City's First Mob Boss
J. North Conway
September 7, 2014
Often he cursed himself as a wretch for paining that pure and noble heart.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
While my brother and sister Mr. Solmes'd him, and Sirr'd—yet such a wretch!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
As to that wretch's perseverance, those only, who know not the man, will wonder at it.
"You may have known me as Ahmed Antoun," said the wretch, not dreaming of that slip he had made.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
I wonder not that the wretch is said to love you the better for it.
- a despicable person
- a person pitied for his misfortune
Word Origin and History for wretch
Old English wrecca "wretch, stranger, exile," from Proto-Germanic *wrakjan (cf. Old Saxon wrekkio, Old High German reckeo "a banished person, exile," German recke "renowned warrior, hero"), related to Old English wreccan "to drive out, punish" (see wreak). Sense of "vile, despicable person" developed in Old English, reflecting the sorry state of the outcast, as presented in much of Anglo-Saxon verse (e.g. "The Wanderer"). Cf. German Elend "misery," from Old High German elilenti "sojourn in a foreign land, exile."