- 1The destruction of a ship at sea; a shipwreck: the survivors of the wreckMore example sentences
- Whisky Galore, a fictional account of an actual wreck of a ship loaded with whisky on Eriskay, was made into a highly successful film.
- Geranium, a French warship sent from Cherbourg, was alerting other ships to the wreck while a single buoy marked the spot.
- Te Namu Bay was the scene of the 1862 wreck of the ship the Lord Worsley, and was one of the most beautiful spots in the district.
- 1.1A ship destroyed at sea: the salvaging of treasure from wrecksMore example sentences
- Plans to move the wreck of destroyer HMS Wakeful out of a shipping lane have been amended to allow the ship to safely remain where she sank during the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.
- The wrecks of such ships have inevitably been targets for treasure-seekers.
- Everyone hopes to find the treasure hidden in the wreck, even though many doubt that it's there at all.
- 1.2 [mass noun] Law Goods brought ashore by the sea from a wreck: the profits of wreckMore example sentences
- The sale of the manor in 1681 included profits of wreck, stone, and timber from the shore, and new land 'accruing by violence of the sea'.
- 2Something, especially a vehicle or building, that has been badly damaged or destroyed: the plane was reduced to a smouldering wreck • figurative the wreck of their marriageMore example sentences
- The driver of the pickup, who walked away from the wreck of his vehicle, was also taken to hospital, where he received 12 stitches to his forehead.
- The station was a wreck when it was bought 18 years ago and the garden non-existent.
- It was like walking around at the site of a spaceship wreck - huge pieces of dismantled machinery everywhere.
- 2.1North American A road or rail crash: a train wreckMore example sentences
- We have thought about how to deal with enormous numbers of people coming in because of plane crashes or chlorine spills from train wrecks.
- If the engine of a train suddenly goes off the rails, a wreck ensues.
- Several minor wrecks, mostly in rail yards, have helped feed community fears.
- 3A person whose physical or mental health or strength has failed: the scandal left the family emotional wrecksMore example sentences
- The whole point of this storyline is that he has reduced her to a gibbering wreck through emotional and verbal cruelty without any physical violence.
- I am a physical wreck, I do not sleep properly and I do not eat properly.
- Are pupils and parents really so terrible they can reduce grown-up professionals to quivering wrecks?
verb[with object] Back to top
- 1Cause the destruction of (a ship) by sinking or breaking up: he was drowned when his ship was wreckedMore example sentences
- Iziko Museums in Cape Town have started off a project to find different slave ships that were wrecked along the South African coastline.
- His ship is wrecked and the passengers take to the long-boat.
- The approach to Jeddah is filled with dangerous reefs, and over the years several ships have been wrecked.
- 1.1Involve (someone) in a shipwreck: sailors who had the misfortune to be wrecked on these coastsMore example sentences
- His luck then goes from bad to worse as he is brought before the Spanish Inquisition, swindled out of a Mexican fortune, wrecked on a desert island and separated from his true love, Cunegonde.
- Individual scenes are well staged: when wrecked on the shores of Pentapolis, Pericles arrives in a launderette swimming in water and bedecked with old clothes.
- Her great grandfather lived quite an adventurous life and was ship wrecked off the coast of Iceland.
- 1.2 [no object] (usually as noun wrecking) chiefly • historical Cause the destruction of a ship in order to steal the cargo: the locals reverted to the age-old practice of wreckingMore example sentences
- The seashore inhabitants gained some recompense by resorting to wrecking, a tradition which lasted well into the 19th cent., and by their own privateering and smuggling.
- The crew took the Pacific Emerald for wrecking but the second part of the settlement was never honoured.
- The disorientation is fitting because, startling as it now seems, wrecking was practiced not by rogues or villains but by unremarkable locals.
- 2Destroy or severely damage (a structure, vehicle, or similar): the blast wrecked 100 housesMore example sentences
- Two serious accidents, destroying four vehicles and wrecking a house wall and a traffic light at the junction, have already occurred since the lights failed last Thursday morning.
- Photographs of the apparent aftermath - showing wrecked vehicles and dented police helmets - have since appeared on several Weblogs.
- That Nolan was there to play his part was a near-miracle in itself after the youngster's lucky escape from that morning's dramatic smash that wrecked his car.
- 2.1Spoil completely: an eye injury wrecked his chances of a professional careerMore example sentences
ruin, spoil, disrupt, undo, mar, play havoc with, make a mess of, put an end to, end, bring to an end, put a stop to, prevent, frustrate, blight, crush, quell, quash, dash, destroy, scotch, shatter, devastate, demolish, sabotage• informal mess up, screw up, louse up, foul up, make a hash of, do in, put paid to, put the lid on, put the kibosh on, stymie, queer, nix, banjax, blow a hole inNorth American • informal throw a monkey wrench in the works of• archaic bring to naught
- Holmes has spent most of her career cursing her luck after a string of injuries wrecked her chances of gold at major championships.
- Yet Larkham says that the rapid recovery of debutant lock Justin Harrison, whose career was almost wrecked by a similar injury last year, has been an inspiration to him in his darker moments.
- Keith Wood will be with the 41-man Irish squad on the tour but has no intention of playing in any of the three games after a season wrecked by injury.
- 3 [no object] (usually as noun wrecking) chiefly North American Engage in breaking up badly damaged vehicles or demolishing old buildings to obtain usable spares or scrap.More example sentences
- The license allows a business to buy and resell vehicles for wrecking, processing, scrapping, recycling or dismantling.
- The contractor should plan for the wrecking of the structure, the equipment to do the work, manpower requirements, and the protection of the public.
Middle English (as a legal term denoting wreckage washed ashore): from Anglo-Norman French wrec, from the base of Old Norse reka 'to drive'; related to wreak.