Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
to inflict or execute punishment: wreak revenge; visit; vent; unleash: He wreaked his anger on the office staff.
Not to be confused with:
wreck – destroy; devastate; shatter; tear down: The mob will wreck the goal posts.; the remains of something ruined: The tornado turned the house into a wreck.
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree
tr.v. wreaked, wreak·ing, wreaks
1. To bring about (damage or destruction, for example): wreak havoc.
2. To inflict (vengeance or punishment) upon a person.
3. To give vent to or act upon (one's feelings): "He sought for some excuse to wreak his hatred upon Tarzan" (Edgar Rice Burroughs).
4. Archaic To take vengeance for; avenge.
[Middle English wreken, from Old English wrecan.]
Usage Note: Wreak is sometimes confused with wreck, perhaps because the wreaking of damage may leave a wreck: The storm wreaked (not wrecked ) havoc along the coast. The past tense and past participle of wreak is wreaked, not wrought, which is an alternative past tense and past participle of work.
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.
1. to inflict (vengeance, etc) or to cause (chaos, etc): to wreak havoc on the enemy.
2. to express, or gratify (anger, hatred, etc)
3. archaic to take vengeance for
[Old English wrecan; related to Old Frisian wreka, Old High German rehhan (German rächen), Old Norse reka, Latin urgēre to push]
Usage: See at wrought
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
1. to inflict or execute (punishment, vengeance, etc.): to wreak havoc on the enemy.
2. to carry out the promptings of (one's rage, ill humor, etc.), as on a victim or object: to wreak one's anger on subordinates.
[before 900; Middle English wreken, Old English wrecan to avenge, c. Old Saxon wrekan, Old High German rehhan, Old Norse reka to drive, avenge, Gothic wrikan to persecute]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Past participle: wreaked
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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|Verb||1.||wreak - cause to happen or to occur as a consequence; "I cannot work a miracle"; "wreak havoc"; "bring comments"; "play a joke"; "The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area"|
work, act - have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected; "The voting process doesn't work as well as people thought"; "How does your idea work in practice?"; "This method doesn't work"; "The breaks of my new car act quickly"; "The medicine works only if you take it with a lot of water"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
1. create, work, cause, visit, effect, exercise, carry out, execute, inflict, bring about Violent storms wreaked havoc on the coast.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
1. To cause to undergo or bear (something unwelcome or damaging, for example):
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.
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
wreak[ˈriːk] vt [+ destruction] → semer
to wreak havoc → faire des ravages
to wreak havoc on sth → chambouler qch
to wreak vengeance on sb → se venger de qn, exercer sa vengeance sur qn
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995