wrack

1
[ rak ]
/ ræk /

noun

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.

verb (used with object)

to wreck: He wracked his car up on the river road.

Nearby words

Origin of wrack

1
before 900; Middle English wrak (noun), Old English wræc vengeance, misery, akin to wracu vengeance, misery, wrecan to wreak

Can be confused

rack wrack wreak wreckracked wracked wreaked wrecked

Definition for wrack (2 of 3)

wrack

2
[ rak ]
/ ræk /

noun, verb (used without object)

Definition for wrack (3 of 3)

rack

4

or wrack

[ rak ]
/ ræk /

noun

Also called cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.

verb (used without object)

to drive or move, especially before the wind.

Origin of rack

4
1350–1400; Middle English rak, reck(e); origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wrack

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (1 of 8)

wrack

1

rack

/ (ræk) /

noun

collapse or destruction (esp in the phrase wrack and ruin)
something destroyed or a remnant of such

verb

a variant spelling of rack 1

Word Origin for wrack

Old English wræc persecution, misery; related to Gothic wraka, Old Norse rāk. Compare wreck, wretch

usage

The use of the spelling wrack rather than rack in sentences such as she was wracked by grief or the country was wracked by civil war is very common but is thought by many people to be incorrect

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (2 of 8)

wrack

2
/ (ræk) /

noun

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
  1. a wreck or piece of wreckage
  2. a remnant or fragment of something destroyed

Word Origin for wrack

C14 (in the sense: a wrecked ship, wreckage, hence later applied to marine vegetation washed ashore): perhaps from Middle Dutch wrak wreckage; the term corresponds to Old English wræc wrack 1

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (3 of 8)

rack

1
/ (ræk) /

noun

verb (tr)

See also rack up

Derived Forms

racker, noun

Word Origin for rack

C14 rekke, probably from Middle Dutch rec framework; related to Old High German recchen to stretch, Old Norse rekja to spread out

xref

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (4 of 8)

rack

2
/ (ræk) /

noun

destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)

Word Origin for rack

C16: variant of wrack 1

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (5 of 8)

rack

3
/ (ræk) /

noun

another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse

Word Origin for rack

C16: perhaps based on rock ²

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (6 of 8)

rack

4
/ (ræk) /

noun

a group of broken clouds moving in the wind

verb

(intr) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind

Word Origin for rack

Old English wrǣc what is driven; related to Gothic wraks persecutor, Swedish vrak wreckage

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (7 of 8)

rack

5
/ (ræk) /

verb (tr)

to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs
to fill a container with (beer, wine, etc)

Word Origin for rack

C15: from Old Provençal arraca, from raca dregs of grapes after pressing

British Dictionary definitions for wrack (8 of 8)

rack

6
/ (ræk) /

noun

the neck or rib section of mutton, pork, or veal

Word Origin for rack

Old English hrace; related to Old High German rahho, Danish harke, Swedish harkla to clear one's throat
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

Idioms and Phrases with wrack (1 of 2)

wrack


see under rack.

Idioms and Phrases with wrack (2 of 2)

rack


In addition to the idioms beginning with rack

  • rack and ruin, go to
  • rack one's brain
  • rack out
  • rack up

also see:

  • on the rack
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.