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[ship-rek] /ˈʃɪpˌrɛk/
the destruction or loss of a ship, as by sinking.
the remains of a wrecked ship.
destruction or ruin:
the shipwreck of one's hopes.
verb (used with object)
to cause to suffer shipwreck.
to destroy; ruin.
verb (used without object)
to suffer shipwreck.
Origin of shipwreck
before 1100; Middle English shipwrech remains of a shipwreck; see ship1, wreck; replacing Old English scipwræc (see wrack1) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shipwreck
  • It is the hefty insulated human that longest survives shipwreck in cold seas, for instance.
  • They were survivors of a shipwreck on a life raft with limited provisions.
  • Made shipwreck of their hopes, and so they were undone.
  • These places are introduced as being near the scene of the shipwreck.
  • Rediscover the first-ever underwater mapping and excavation of an ancient shipwreck in its entirety on the seafloor.
  • shipwreck records in the region are surprisingly complete.
  • He did, however, note the location of the shipwreck on one of his maps.
  • Perhaps it washed up on shore from a shipwreck, or maybe a pirate left it there for someone else to pick up.
  • Divers may not use grappling hooks or other anchoring devices if a shipwreck site is marked with a mooring buoy.
  • Unlike diving a reef or even a shipwreck, entering a cave usually implies a ceiling of impenetrable rock overhead.
British Dictionary definitions for shipwreck


the partial or total destruction of a ship at sea
a wrecked ship or part of such a ship
ruin or destruction: the shipwreck of all my hopes
verb (transitive)
to wreck or destroy (a ship)
to bring to ruin or destruction
Word Origin
Old English scipwræc, from ship + wræc something driven by the sea; see wrack²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shipwreck

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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