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[rech-id] /ˈrɛtʃ ɪd/
adjective, wretcheder, wretchedest.
very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; miserable; pitiable.
characterized by or attended with misery and sorrow.
despicable, contemptible, or mean:
a wretched miser.
poor, sorry, or pitiful; worthless:
a wretched job of sewing.
Origin of wretched
First recorded in 1150-1200, wretched is from the Middle English word wrecchede. See wretch, -ed3
Related forms
wretchedly, adverb
wretchedness, noun
unwretched, adjective
1. dejected, distressed, afflicted, woeful, woebegone, forlorn, unhappy. 2. Wretched, miserable, sorry refer to that which is unhappy, afflicted, or distressed. Wretched refers to a condition of extreme affliction or distress, especially as outwardly apparent: wretched hovels. Miserable refers more to the inward feeling of unhappiness or distress: a miserable life. Sorry applies to distressed, often poverty-stricken outward circumstances; but it has connotations of unworthiness, incongruousness, or the like, so that the beholder feels more contempt than pity: in a sorry plight. 3. base, vile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wretchedly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Earthmen were pitifully few, only thirty of them, and wretchedly armed.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • It was all wretchedly unconstitutional—of this there is no doubt.

    Blood and Iron John Hubert Greusel
  • These last must be wretchedly unwholesome in the brief rainy season.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • The tears swam to her eyes and wretchedly and yet thankfully she wept.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • The service was wretchedly conducted; hardly any music, and not a flower to speak of.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • And as I stood there wretchedly a timid little hand touched my arm.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • I am grieved to find that you are so wretchedly low-spirited.

    Behind the Scenes Elizabeth Keckley
British Dictionary definitions for wretchedly


in poor or pitiful circumstances
characterized by or causing misery
despicable; base
poor, inferior, or paltry
(prenominal) (intensifier qualifying something undesirable): a wretched nuisance
Derived Forms
wretchedly, adverb
wretchedness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wretchedly



c.1200, wrecched, an irregular formation from wrecche "wretch" (see wretch). Cf. also wicked.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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