- wreck or wreckage.
- damage or destruction: wrack and ruin.
- a trace of something destroyed: leaving not a wrack behind.
- seaweed or other vegetation cast on the shore.
- to wreck: He wracked his car up on the river road.
Origin of wrack1
- Also called cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.
- to drive or move, especially before the wind.
Origin of rack4
Examples from the Web for wrack
So I began to wrack my brain to come up at least once a day with a pearl of wit or wisdom.Simon de Pury: ‘I’m Addicted to Instagram’
Simon de Pury
July 15, 2013
The wrack had thickened to seaward, and the coast was but a blurred line.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
He finished with a cough that seemed to wrack him from head to feet.Rival Pitchers of Oakdale
Not that I was one who craved for wrack and bilge at my nose all the time.John Splendid
In the tempest's wrack the stars are dim and faith 's the only compass.Wappin' Wharf
Charles S. Brooks
"I don't like to see things go to wrack and ruin," he remarked.Country Neighbors
- collapse or destruction (esp in the phrase wrack and ruin)
- something destroyed or a remnant of such
- a variant spelling of rack 1
- seaweed or other marine vegetation that is floating in the sea or has been cast ashore
- any of various seaweeds of the genus Fucus, such as F. serratus (serrated wrack)
- literary, or dialect
- a wreck or piece of wreckage
- a remnant or fragment of something destroyed
- a framework for holding, carrying, or displaying a specific load or objecta plate rack; a hat rack; a hay rack; a luggage rack
- a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions
- a framework fixed to an aircraft for carrying bombs, rockets, etc
- the rack an instrument of torture that stretched the body of the victim
- a cause or state of mental or bodily stress, suffering, etc; anguish; torment (esp in the phrase on the rack)
- slang, mainly US a woman's breasts
- US and Canadian (in pool, snooker, etc)
- the triangular frame used to arrange the balls for the opening shot
- the balls so groupedBrit equivalent: frame
- to torture on the rack
- Also: wrack to cause great stress or suffering toguilt racked his conscience
- Also: wrack to strain or shake (something) violently, as by great physical forcethe storm racked the town
- to place or arrange in or on a rackto rack bottles of wine
- to move (parts of machinery or a mechanism) using a toothed rack
- to raise (rents) exorbitantly; rack-rent
- rack one's brains to strain in mental effort, esp to remember something or to find the solution to a problem
- destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)
- another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse
- a group of broken clouds moving in the wind
- (intr) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind
- to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs
- to fill a container with (beer, wine, etc)
- the neck or rib section of mutton, pork, or veal
Word Origin and History for wrack
late 14c., "wrecked ship," probably from Middle Dutch wrak "wreck," cognate with Old English wræc "misery, punishment," and wrecan "to punish, drive out" (see wreak). The meaning "damage, disaster, destruction" (in wrack and ruin) is from c.1400, from the Old English word. Sense of "seaweed, etc., cast up on shore" is recorded from 1510s.
"to ruin or wreck" (originally of ships), 1560s, from earlier intransitive sense "to be shipwrecked" (late 15c.), from wrack (n.). Often confused in this sense since 16c. with rack (v.) in the sense of "torture on the rack;" to wrack one's brains is thus erroneous. Related: Wracked; wracking.
"frame with bars," c.1300, possibly from Middle Dutch rec "framework," literally "something stretched out, related to recken (modern rekken) "stretch out," cognate with Old English reccan "to stretch out," from Proto-Germanic *rak- (cf. Old Saxon rekkian, Old Frisian reza, Old Norse rekja, Old High German recchen, German recken, Gothic uf-rakjan "to stretch out"), from PIE *rog-, from root *reg- "to move in a straight line" (see regal).
Meaning "instrument of torture" first recorded early 15c., perhaps from German rackbank, originally an implement for stretching leather, etc. Mechanical meaning "toothed bar" is from 1797 (see pinion). Meaning "set of antlers" is first attested 1945, American English; hence slang sense of "a woman's breasts" (especially if large), by 1991. Meaning "framework for displaying clothes" is from 1948; hence off the rack (1951) of clothing, as opposed to tailored.
type of gait of a horse, 1580s, from rack (v.) "move with a fast, lively gait" 1520s in this sense (implied in racking), of unknown origin; perhaps from French racquassure "racking of a horse in his pace," itself of unknown origin. Or perhaps a variant of rock (v.1).
"clouds driven before the wind," c.1300, also "rush of wind, collision, crash," originally a northern word, possibly from Old English racu "cloud" (or an unrecorded Scandinavian cognate of it), reinforced by Old Norse rek "wreckage, jetsam," or by influence of Old English wræc "something driven;" from Proto-Germanic *wrakaz, from PIE root *wreg- "to push, shove" (see wreak-). Often confused with wrack (n.), especially in phrase rack and ruin (1590s). The distinction is that rack is "driven clouds;" wrack is "seaweed cast up on shore."
"to stretch out for drying," also "to torture on the rack," early 15c., from rack (n.1). Of other pains from 1580s. Figurative sense of "to torment" is from c.1600. Meaning "raise above a fair level" (of rent, etc.) is from 1550s. Meaning "fit with racks" is from 1580s. Teenager slang meaning "to sleep" is from 1960s (rack (n.) was Navy slang for "bed" in 1940s). Related: Racked; racking. Rack up "register, accumulate, achieve" is first attested 1943 (in "Billboard"), probably from method of keeping score in pool halls.
"cut of animal meat and bones," 1560s, of unknown origin; perhaps from some resemblance to rack (n.1). Cf. rack-bone "vertebrae" (1610s).
Idioms and Phrases with wrack
see under rack.
In addition to the idioms beginning with rack
- rack and ruin, go to
- rack one's brain
- rack out
- rack up
- on the rack