What does wretch mean?

Definitions for wretch

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word wretch.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. wretchnoun

    performs some wicked deed

  2. poor devil, wretchnoun

    someone you feel sorry for


  1. wretchnoun

    An unhappy, unfortunate, or miserable person.

  2. wretchnoun

    An unpleasant, annoying person.

  3. wretchnoun

    An exile.

  4. Etymology: From wrecca.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. WRETCHnoun

    Etymology: wrecca , Saxon.

    When I loved, I was a wretch. Accidence.

    She weeps, and says her Henry is depos’d;
    He smiles, and says his Edward is install’d;
    That she, poor wretch, for grief can speak no more. William Shakespeare.

    The butcher takes away the calf,
    And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strives. William Shakespeare.

    Illustrious wretch! repine not, nor reply:
    View not what heav’n ordains, with reason’s eye;
    For bright the object is, the distance is too high. Matthew Prior.

    Base-minded wretches, are your thoughts so deeply bemired in the trade of ordinary worldlings, as for respect of gain some paultry wool may yield you, to let so much time pass without knowing perfectly her estate? Philip Sidney.

    He now
    Has these poor men in question: never saw I
    Wretches so quake; they kneel, they kiss the earth,
    Forswear themselves as often as they speak. William Shakespeare.

    Title of honour, worth and virtue’s right,
    Should not be given to a wretch so vile. Samuel Daniel, Civil War.

    When they are gone, a company of starved hungry wretches shall take their places. Roger L'Estrange.

    When soon away the wasp doth go;
    Poor wretch was never frighted so:
    He thought his wings were much too slow,
    O’erjoy’d they so were parted. Michael Drayton, Nymphid.

    Then, if the spider find him fast beset,
    She issues forth, and runs along her loom:
    She joys to touch the captive in her net,
    And drags the little wretch in triumph home. Dryden.

    Chastened but thus, and thus his lesson taught,
    The happy wretch she put into her breast. Philip Sidney.


  1. wretch

    A wretch is a person who is in a very unhappy or unfortunate state. It can also refer to a despicable or contemptible person, particularly someone who is morally wrong or behaves unjustly. The term is often used in a scornful or disparaging manner in literary or poetic contexts.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Wretchverb

    a miserable person; one profoundly unhappy

  2. Wretchverb

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

  3. Etymology: [OE. wrecche, AS. wrecca, wrcca, an exile, a wretch, fr. wrecan to drive out, punish; properly, an exile, one driven out, akin to AS. wrc an exile, OS. wrekkio a stranger, OHG. reccheo an exile. See Wreak, v. t.]


  1. Wretch

    Wretch is the first full-length album by American heavy metal band Kyuss. It was released in September 1991, on Dali Records. Previously billed as Sons of Kyuss, the band shortened their name prior to the release of this album. The album is notable for its distinctive sound, though this is not necessarily a positive; its production has been criticized and the album has been described as a poor representation of the band's sound.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Wretch

    rech, n. a most miserable person: one sunk in vice: a worthless person: body, creature (in pity, sometimes admiration).—adj. Wretch′ed, very miserable: distressingly bad: despicable: worthless.—adv. Wretch′edly.—n. Wretch′edness. [A.S. wrecca, an outcast—wræc, pa.t. of wrecan, to drive.]

Suggested Resources

  1. Wretch

    Retch vs. Wretch -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Retch and Wretch.

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How to pronounce wretch?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of wretch in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of wretch in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of wretch in a Sentence

  1. Hannah More:

    The wretch who digs the mine for bread, or ploughs, that others may be fed, feels less fatigued than that decreed to him who cannot think or read.

  2. William Penn:

    If a civil word or two will render a man happy, he must be a wretch, indeed who will not give them to him. Such a disposition is like lighting another man's candle by one's own, which loses none of its brilliancy by what the other gains.

  3. William Shakespeare, "Othello", Act 3 scene 3:

    Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.

  4. William Shakespeare:

    Excellent wretch Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.

  5. Edmund Spenser:

    It is the mind that maketh good or ill, that maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.

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Translations for wretch

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"wretch." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/wretch>.

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    making or becoming suitable; adjusting to circumstances
    A accident
    B nuisance
    C accommodation
    D guts

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