the act, work, or business of a wrecker.


employed or for use in wrecking: a wrecking crew.

Nearby words

  1. wrecked,
  2. wrecker,
  3. wrecker's ball,
  4. wreckfish,
  5. wreckful,
  6. wrecking bar,
  7. wrecking car,
  8. wrecking crane,
  9. wrekin,
  10. wren

Origin of wrecking

First recorded in 1795–1805; wreck + -ing1




any building, structure, or thing reduced to a state of ruin.
wreckage, goods, etc., remaining above water after a shipwreck, especially when cast ashore.
the ruin or destruction of a vessel in the course of navigation; shipwreck.
a vessel in a state of ruin from disaster at sea, on rocks, etc.
the ruin or destruction of anything: the wreck of one's hopes.
a person of ruined health; someone in bad shape physically or mentally: The strain of his work left him a wreck.

verb (used with object)

to cause the wreck of (a vessel); shipwreck.
to involve in a wreck.
to cause the ruin or destruction of: to wreck a car.
to tear down; demolish: to wreck a building.
to ruin or impair severely: Fast living wrecked their health.

verb (used without object)

to be involved in a wreck; become wrecked: The trains wrecked at the crossing.
to act as a wrecker; engage in wrecking.

Origin of wreck

1200–50; (noun) Middle English wrec, wrech, wrek < Old Danish wrækæ wreck; (v.) late Middle English, derivative of the noun

Related formsun·wrecked, adjective

Can be confusedrack wrack wreak wreckracked wracked wreaked wrecked

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wrecking

British Dictionary definitions for wrecking



to involve in or suffer disaster or destruction
(tr) to cause the wreck of (a ship)


  1. the accidental destruction of a ship at sea
  2. the ship so destroyed
maritime law goods cast ashore from a wrecked vessel
a person or thing that has suffered ruin or dilapidation
the remains of something that has been destroyed
old-fashioned the act of wrecking or the state of being wrecked; ruin or destruction

Word Origin for wreck

C13: from Scandinavian; compare Icelandic rek. See wrack ², wreak

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 wrecking
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper