[ reek ]
See synonyms for: wreakwrought on Thesaurus.com

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.

Idioms about wreak

  1. wreak havoc. See entry at wreak havoc.

Origin of wreak

First recorded 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”

Other words for wreak

Other words from wreak

  • wreak·er, noun

Words that may be confused with wreak

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use wreak in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for wreak


/ (riːk) /

  1. to inflict (vengeance, etc) or to cause (chaos, etc): to wreak havoc on the enemy

  2. to express, or gratify (anger, hatred, etc)

  1. archaic to take vengeance for

Origin of wreak

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


Derived forms of wreak

  • wreaker, 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