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mid-15c., from ship (n.) + wreck (n.). Earlier it meant "things cast up from a shipwreck" (c.1100). The earlier word for "shipwreck" in the modern sense was Middle English schipbreke, "'ship-break,'" from a North Sea Germanic word, cf. West Frisian skipbrek, Middle Dutch schipbroke, German Schiffbruch, Old English scipgebroc. Old English scipbryce meant "right to claim goods from a wrecked ship."
1580s, "cause to wreck;" c.1600, "to suffer shipwreck," from shipwreck (n.). Related: Shipwrecked.