Wretch (?), n. [OE. wrecche, AS. wrecca, wraecca, an exile, a wretch, fr. wrecan to drive out, punish; properly, an exile, one driven out, akin to AS. wraec an exile, OS. wrekkio a stranger, OHG. reccheo an exile. See Wreak, v. t.]


A miserable person; one profoundly unhappy.

"The wretch that lies in woe."


Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun? Cowper.


One sunk in vice or degradation; a base, despicable person; a vile knave; as, a profligate wretch.

Wretch is sometimes used by way of slight or ironical pity or contempt, and sometimes to express tenderness; as we say, poor thing. "Poor wretch was never frighted so."



© Webster 1913.

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