wreak

[reek]
verb (used with object)
  1. to inflict or execute (punishment, vengeance, etc.): They wreaked havoc on the enemy.
  2. 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

before 900; Middle English wreken, Old English wrecan; cognate with German rächen to avenge, Old Norse reka to drive, avenge, Gothic wrikan to persecute; akin to Latin urgēre to drive, push
Related formswreak·er, noun
Can be confusedrack wrack wreak wreckracked wracked wreaked wrecked

Synonyms for wreak

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wreaker

Historical Examples of wreaker

  • Full she drad that God the Wreaker all mankind would fordo with water for his evil sins.

    Ulysses

    James Joyce


British Dictionary definitions for wreaker

wreak

verb (tr)
  1. to inflict (vengeance, etc) or to cause (chaos, etc)to wreak havoc on the enemy
  2. to express, or gratify (anger, hatred, etc)
  3. archaic to take vengeance for
Derived Formswreaker, noun

Word Origin for wreak

Old English wrecan; related to Old Frisian wreka, Old High German rehhan (German rächen), Old Norse reka, Latin urgēre to push

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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

Word Origin and History for wreaker

wreak

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper