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Related to wrack: bladder wrack, wrack and ruin


damage or destruction: wrack and ruin
Not to be confused with:
rack – framework; spread out; torture: they put the prisoner on the rack
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree

wrack 1

also rack  (răk)
Destruction or ruin. Used chiefly in the phrase wrack and ruin.

[Middle English, from Old English wræc, punishment (influenced by Middle Dutch wrak, shipwreck).]

wrack 2

also rack  (răk)
a. Wreckage, especially of a ship cast ashore.
b. Chiefly British Violent destruction of a building or vehicle.
a. Seaweed that has been cast ashore or dried.
b. Any of various brown algae, especially rockweed or kelp.
v. wracked, wrack·ing, wracks also racked or rack·ing or racks
To cause the ruin of; wreck.
To be wrecked.

[Middle English wrak, from Middle Dutch.]

wrack 3

tr.v. wracked, wrack·ing, wracks
Variant of rack1..
wrack (one's) brains/brain
To try hard to remember or think of something.

[Influenced by wrack.]

wrack 4

Variant of rack3.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ræk) or


1. collapse or destruction (esp in the phrase wrack and ruin)
2. something destroyed or a remnant of such
a variant spelling of rack1
[Old English wræc persecution, misery; related to Gothic wraka, Old Norse rāk. Compare wreck, wretch]
Usage: The use of the spelling wrack rather than rack in sentences such as she was wracked by grief or the country was wracked by civil war is very common but is thought by many people to be incorrect


1. (Plants) seaweed or other marine vegetation that is floating in the sea or has been cast ashore
2. (Plants) any of various seaweeds of the genus Fucus, such as F. serratus (serrated wrack)
3. literary or dialect
a. a wreck or piece of wreckage
b. a remnant or fragment of something destroyed
[C14 (in the sense: a wrecked ship, wreckage, hence later applied to marine vegetation washed ashore): perhaps from Middle Dutch wrak wreckage; the term corresponds to Old English wræc wrack1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. damage or destruction: wrack and ruin.
2. wreck or wreckage.
3. a trace of something destroyed: leaving not a wrack behind.
4. seaweed or other vegetation cast on the shore.
5. to wreck: He wracked the car up on the river road.
[before 900; Middle English wrak (n.), Old English wræc vengeance, misery, akin to wracu vengeance, misery, wrecan to wreak]



n., v.i.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Past participle: wracked
Gerund: wracking

I wrack
you wrack
he/she/it wracks
we wrack
you wrack
they wrack
I wracked
you wracked
he/she/it wracked
we wracked
you wracked
they wracked
Present Continuous
I am wracking
you are wracking
he/she/it is wracking
we are wracking
you are wracking
they are wracking
Present Perfect
I have wracked
you have wracked
he/she/it has wracked
we have wracked
you have wracked
they have wracked
Past Continuous
I was wracking
you were wracking
he/she/it was wracking
we were wracking
you were wracking
they were wracking
Past Perfect
I had wracked
you had wracked
he/she/it had wracked
we had wracked
you had wracked
they had wracked
I will wrack
you will wrack
he/she/it will wrack
we will wrack
you will wrack
they will wrack
Future Perfect
I will have wracked
you will have wracked
he/she/it will have wracked
we will have wracked
you will have wracked
they will have wracked
Future Continuous
I will be wracking
you will be wracking
he/she/it will be wracking
we will be wracking
you will be wracking
they will be wracking
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been wracking
you have been wracking
he/she/it has been wracking
we have been wracking
you have been wracking
they have been wracking
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been wracking
you will have been wracking
he/she/it will have been wracking
we will have been wracking
you will have been wracking
they will have been wracking
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been wracking
you had been wracking
he/she/it had been wracking
we had been wracking
you had been wracking
they had been wracking
I would wrack
you would wrack
he/she/it would wrack
we would wrack
you would wrack
they would wrack
Past Conditional
I would have wracked
you would have wracked
he/she/it would have wracked
we would have wracked
you would have wracked
they would have wracked
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.wrack - dried seaweed especially that cast ashore
seaweed - plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae
2.wrack - the destruction or collapse of something; "wrack and ruin"
demolition, wipeout, destruction - an event (or the result of an event) that completely destroys something
3.wrack - growth of marine vegetation especially of the large forms such as rockweeds and kelp
seaweed - plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae
Verb1.wrack - smash or break forcefully; "The kid busted up the car"
ruin, destroy - destroy completely; damage irreparably; "You have ruined my car by pouring sugar in the tank!"; "The tears ruined her make-up"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

wrack 1

The act of destroying or state of being destroyed:

wrack 2

The remains of something destroyed, disintegrated, or decayed:
To cause the complete ruin or wreckage of:
Slang: total.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


3 [ræk] N (Bot) → fuco m, alga f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (Bot) → Tang m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
To see her going to wrack and ruin shocked me terribly.
The inky ragged wrack, flying before a nor'-west wind, makes you dizzy with its headlong speed that depicts the rush of the invisible air.
"I doan' want to go fool'n 'long er no wrack. We's doin' blame' well, en we better let blame' well alone, as de good book says.
'Tis thus, O boy, that Autumn comes, the cold Pitiless autumn of the wrack and mist, Autumn, the season of the cloudless sky, Autumn, of biting blasts, the time of blight And desolation; following the chill Stir of disaster, with a shout it leaps Upon us.
The wrack had thickened to seaward, and the coast was but a blurred line.
It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March, with a pale moon, lying on her back as though the wind had tilted her, and flying wrack of the most diaphanous and lawny texture.
The library doors were shut, and I closed the secret one behind me before opening the other and peering out through a wrack of bluish smoke; and there lay Captain Harris, sure enough, breathing his last in the arms of one constable, while another was seated on the table with a very wry face, twisting a tourniquet round his arm, from which the blood was dripping like raindrops from the eaves.
I heard the wrack, As earth and sky would mingle; but myself Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear them, As dangerous to the pillared frame of Heaven, Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath, Are to the main as inconsiderable And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze To man's less universe, and soon are gone.
The rest in imitation to like Armes Betook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore; So Hills amid the Air encounterd Hills Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire, That under ground they fought in dismal shade; Infernal noise; Warr seem'd a civil Game To this uproar; horrid confusion heapt Upon confusion rose: and now all Heav'n Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspred, Had not th' Almightie Father where he sits Shrin'd in his Sanctuarie of Heav'n secure, Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd: That his great purpose he might so fulfill, To honour his Anointed Son aveng'd Upon his enemies, and to declare All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son Th' Assessor of his Throne he thus began.
So, the Bride had mounted into her handsome chariot, incidentally accompanied by the Bridegroom; and after rolling for a few minutes smoothly over a fair pavement, had begun to jolt through a Slough of Despond, and through a long, long avenue of wrack and ruin.
A dull wrack was drifting slowly across the sky, and a star or two twinkled dimly here and there through the rifts of the clouds.
As I approached I found Dejah Thoris lying prone upon her silks and furs, her lithe form wracked with sobs.