wretch

[rech]

noun

a deplorably unfortunate or unhappy person.
a person of despicable or base character.

Nearby words

  1. wrest,
  2. wrest pin,
  3. wrestle,
  4. wrestler,
  5. wrestling,
  6. wretched,
  7. wretchedly,
  8. wrexham,
  9. wrick,
  10. wrier

Origin of wretch

before 900; Middle English wrecche, Old English wrecca exile, adventurer; cognate with German Recke warrior, hero, Old Norse rekkr man

Can be confusedretch wretch

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

Examples from the Web for wretch


British Dictionary definitions for wretch

wretch

noun

a despicable person
a person pitied for his misfortune

Word Origin for wretch

Old English wrecca; related to Old Saxon wrekkeo, Old High German reccheo (German Recke warrior), Old Norse rek (n) ingr

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 wretch

wretch

n.

Old English wrecca "wretch, stranger, exile," from Proto-Germanic *wrakjan (cf. Old Saxon wrekkio, Old High German reckeo "a banished person, exile," German recke "renowned warrior, hero"), related to Old English wreccan "to drive out, punish" (see wreak). Sense of "vile, despicable person" developed in Old English, reflecting the sorry state of the outcast, as presented in much of Anglo-Saxon verse (e.g. "The Wanderer"). Cf. German Elend "misery," from Old High German elilenti "sojourn in a foreign land, exile."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper