[ rech-id ]
See synonyms for: wretchedwretchedlywretchedness on Thesaurus.com

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

  2. characterized by or attended with misery and sorrow.

  1. despicable, contemptible, or mean: a wretched miser.

  2. poor, sorry, or pitiful; worthless: a wretched job of sewing.

Origin of wretched

First recorded in 1150–1200, wretched is from the Middle English word wrecchede. See wretch, -ed3

synonym study For wretched

2. 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.

Other words for wretched

Other words from wretched

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

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

How to use wretched in a sentence

  • As they got lower and lower down the hill, her wretchedness and disquiet became acute, to the point of a wild despair.

    Hilda Lessways | Arnold Bennett
  • She rode down the river path through the forest, happy after many days of wretchedness.

  • Neither perfect peace, nor utter wretchedness can be of long continuance here below.

  • It was just what he had prayed for; having seen all along that her wretchedness was owing to her being shut up alone with him.

    Love's Pilgrimage | Upton Sinclair
  • Men who remembered Walcheren sought in vain for a parallel to the wretchedness and mortality in our army.

    The British Expedition to the Crimea | William Howard Russell

British Dictionary definitions for wretched


/ (ˈrɛtʃɪd) /

  1. in poor or pitiful circumstances

  2. characterized by or causing misery

  1. despicable; base

  2. poor, inferior, or paltry

  3. (prenominal) (intensifier qualifying something undesirable): a wretched nuisance

Derived forms of wretched

  • wretchedly, adverb
  • wretchedness, 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