View synonyms for wretched


[ rech-id ]


, wretch·ed·er, wretch·ed·est.
  1. very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; miserable; pitiable.

    Synonyms: unhappy, forlorn, woebegone, woeful, distressed, dejected

  2. characterized by or attended with misery and sorrow.
  3. despicable, contemptible, or mean:

    a wretched miser.

    Synonyms: vile, base

  4. poor, sorry, or pitiful; worthless:

    a wretched job of sewing.


/ ˈrɛtʃɪd /


  1. in poor or pitiful circumstances
  2. characterized by or causing misery
  3. despicable; base
  4. poor, inferior, or paltry
  5. prenominal (intensifier qualifying something undesirable)

    a wretched nuisance

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwretchedness, noun
  • ˈwretchedly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • wretched·ly adverb
  • wretched·ness noun
  • un·wretched adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wretched1

First recorded in 1150–1200, wretched is from the Middle English word wrecchede. See wretch, -ed 3

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Synonym Study

Wretched, miserable, sorry refer to that which is unhappy, afflicted, or distressed. Wretched refers to a condition of extreme affliction or distress, especially as outwardly apparent: wretched hovels. Miserable refers more to the inward feeling of unhappiness or distress: a miserable life. Sorry applies to distressed, often poverty-stricken outward circumstances; but it has connotations of unworthiness, incongruousness, or the like, so that the beholder feels more contempt than pity: in a sorry plight.

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Example Sentences

Ligon was 15 on that wretched night when everything went wrong.

For months, Rivera has tried to tuck the franchise’s recent wretched past behind a curtain, urging everyone to look ahead at the new culture he’s building.

The “wretched” Enigma operator, adjusting his machine to the new day’s settings at midnight or dawn, half-awake, under the strain of war, was likely to skip one critical security step — so Herivel guessed.

After drinking way too much at a party, he spends the next day wondering why there’s no word to describe how wretched he feels.

The winner will be the most asterisk-worthy champion of this wretched period.

First on the to-do list, the profiling exercises to help the Western masses understand the nature of the wretched beast.

The wretched of the earth rarely make headlines, whether on land or sea.

This teacher says that the wretched Soviet regime will vanish and life will return to normal.

After a few minutes of this wretched nonsense, Tyrone Lewis sidles up to me and throws a hand on my shoulder.

Prabhakaran had come to personify the movement, and his end, so wretched, became the emblem of Tamil defeat and Sinhalese triumph.

You would not think it too much to set the whole province in flames so that you could have your way with this wretched child.

The wretched young man persistently exercises his right of crying "Banco," and so practically going double or quits each time.

He tried the effect of ridicule on the wretched and despairing Louis; and to one of his arguments, he at last extorted a reply.

Henceforth he must remember Winifred only when his sword was at the throat of some wretched mutineer appealing for mercy.

The habitations of the poor are less wretched than those of Italy, but not equal to those of the fertile portion of Switzerland.


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