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wrack1

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
wreck or wreckage.
2.
damage or destruction:
wrack and ruin.
3.
a trace of something destroyed:
leaving not a wrack behind.
4.
seaweed or other vegetation cast on the shore.
verb (used with object)
5.
to wreck:
He wracked his car up on the river road.
Origin of wrack1
900
before 900; Middle English wrak (noun), Old English wræc vengeance, misery, akin to wracu vengeance, misery, wrecan to wreak
Can be confused
rack, wrack, wreak, wreck.
racked, wracked, wreaked, wrecked.

wrack2

[rak] /ræk/
noun, verb (used without object)
1.
rack4 .

rack4

or wrack

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
Also called cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.
verb (used without object)
2.
to drive or move, especially before the wind.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English rak, reck(e); origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wrack
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His war-book, “The wrack of the Storm,” breathes a calm optimism in the face of untold disaster.

    Prophets of Dissent Otto Heller
  • The wrack had thickened to seaward, and the coast was but a blurred line.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He saved ye from the wrack, an' now ye lay in his house—but I warns ye not to offer money to him for the sarvice he has done ye.

    The Harbor Master Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  • He finished with a cough that seemed to wrack him from head to feet.

  • They may pass away, like the authors of them, and 'leave not a wrack behind;' or they may survive in fragments.

    Theaetetus Plato
  • Not that I was one who craved for wrack and bilge at my nose all the time.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
  • He was across the wrack and below the pools before the coming man had noticed him.

    The Lost Pibroch Neil Munro
  • In the tempest's wrack the stars are dim and faith 's the only compass.

    Wappin' Wharf Charles S. Brooks
  • I do hope the fellows will make a wrack of it, among the ice of the antarctic seas!

    The Sea Lions James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for wrack

wrack1

/ræk/
noun
1.
collapse or destruction (esp in the phrase wrack and ruin)
2.
something destroyed or a remnant of such
verb
3.
a variant spelling of rack1
Usage note
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
Word Origin
Old English wræc persecution, misery; related to Gothic wraka, Old Norse rāk. Compare wreck, wretch

wrack2

/ræk/
noun
1.
seaweed or other marine vegetation that is floating in the sea or has been cast ashore
2.
any of various seaweeds of the genus Fucus, such as F. serratus (serrated wrack)
3.
(literary or dialect)
  1. a wreck or piece of wreckage
  2. a remnant or fragment of something destroyed
Word Origin
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 wræcwrack1

rack1

/ræk/
noun
1.
a framework for holding, carrying, or displaying a specific load or object: a plate rack, a hat rack, a hay rack, a luggage rack
2.
a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions
3.
a framework fixed to an aircraft for carrying bombs, rockets, etc
4.
the rack, an instrument of torture that stretched the body of the victim
5.
a cause or state of mental or bodily stress, suffering, etc; anguish; torment (esp in the phrase on the rack)
6.
(slang, mainly US) a woman's breasts
7.
(US & Canadian, in pool, snooker, etc)
  1. the triangular frame used to arrange the balls for the opening shot
  2. the balls so grouped Brit equivalent frame
verb (transitive)
8.
to torture on the rack
9.
Also wrack. to cause great stress or suffering to: guilt racked his conscience
10.
Also wrack. to strain or shake (something) violently, as by great physical force: the storm racked the town
11.
to place or arrange in or on a rack: to rack bottles of wine
12.
to move (parts of machinery or a mechanism) using a toothed rack
13.
to raise (rents) exorbitantly; rack-rent
14.
rack one's brains, to strain in mental effort, esp to remember something or to find the solution to a problem
See also rack up
Derived Forms
racker, noun
Word Origin
C14 rekke, probably from Middle Dutch rec framework; related to Old High German recchen to stretch, Old Norse rekja to spread out

rack2

/ræk/
noun
1.
destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)
Word Origin
C16: variant of wrack1

rack3

/ræk/
noun
1.
another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse
Word Origin
C16: perhaps based on rock²

rack4

/ræk/
noun
1.
a group of broken clouds moving in the wind
verb
2.
(intransitive) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind
Word Origin
Old English wrǣc what is driven; related to Gothic wraks persecutor, Swedish vrak wreckage

rack5

/ræk/
verb (transitive)
1.
to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs
2.
to fill a container with (beer, wine, etc)
Word Origin
C15: from Old Provençal arraca, from raca dregs of grapes after pressing

rack6

/ræk/
noun
1.
the neck or rib section of mutton, pork, or veal
Word Origin
Old English hrace; related to Old High German rahho, Danish harke, Swedish harkla to clear one's throat
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 wrack
n.

late 14c., "wrecked ship," probably from Middle Dutch wrak "wreck," cognate with Old English wræc "misery, punishment," and wrecan "to punish, drive out" (see wreak). The meaning "damage, disaster, destruction" (in wrack and ruin) is from c.1400, from the Old English word. Sense of "seaweed, etc., cast up on shore" is recorded from 1510s.

v.

"to ruin or wreck" (originally of ships), 1560s, from earlier intransitive sense "to be shipwrecked" (late 15c.), from wrack (n.). Often confused in this sense since 16c. with rack (v.) in the sense of "torture on the rack;" to wrack one's brains is thus erroneous. Related: Wracked; wracking.

rack

n.

"frame with bars," c.1300, possibly from Middle Dutch rec "framework," literally "something stretched out, related to recken (modern rekken) "stretch out," cognate with Old English reccan "to stretch out," from Proto-Germanic *rak- (cf. Old Saxon rekkian, Old Frisian reza, Old Norse rekja, Old High German recchen, German recken, Gothic uf-rakjan "to stretch out"), from PIE *rog-, from root *reg- "to move in a straight line" (see regal).

Meaning "instrument of torture" first recorded early 15c., perhaps from German rackbank, originally an implement for stretching leather, etc. Mechanical meaning "toothed bar" is from 1797 (see pinion). Meaning "set of antlers" is first attested 1945, American English; hence slang sense of "a woman's breasts" (especially if large), by 1991. Meaning "framework for displaying clothes" is from 1948; hence off the rack (1951) of clothing, as opposed to tailored.

type of gait of a horse, 1580s, from rack (v.) "move with a fast, lively gait" 1520s in this sense (implied in racking), of unknown origin; perhaps from French racquassure "racking of a horse in his pace," itself of unknown origin. Or perhaps a variant of rock (v.1).

"clouds driven before the wind," c.1300, also "rush of wind, collision, crash," originally a northern word, possibly from Old English racu "cloud" (or an unrecorded Scandinavian cognate of it), reinforced by Old Norse rek "wreckage, jetsam," or by influence of Old English wræc "something driven;" from Proto-Germanic *wrakaz, from PIE root *wreg- "to push, shove" (see wreak-). Often confused with wrack (n.), especially in phrase rack and ruin (1590s). The distinction is that rack is "driven clouds;" wrack is "seaweed cast up on shore."

"cut of animal meat and bones," 1560s, of unknown origin; perhaps from some resemblance to rack (n.1). Cf. rack-bone "vertebrae" (1610s).

v.

"to stretch out for drying," also "to torture on the rack," early 15c., from rack (n.1). Of other pains from 1580s. Figurative sense of "to torment" is from c.1600. Meaning "raise above a fair level" (of rent, etc.) is from 1550s. Meaning "fit with racks" is from 1580s. Teenager slang meaning "to sleep" is from 1960s (rack (n.) was Navy slang for "bed" in 1940s). Related: Racked; racking. Rack up "register, accumulate, achieve" is first attested 1943 (in "Billboard"), probably from method of keeping score in pool halls.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wrack

rack

verb

  1. (also rack out) To sleep; nap; cop zs: I'll rack out for awhile on the grass till I get it together (1960s+ Teenagers)
  2. To denigrate severely; trash: Why rack Clinton? (1990s+)

Related Terms

meat rack, off-the-rack, rim-rock

[probably fr torture on the rack, a stretching machine, the verb found by 1433]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with wrack

wrack

see under rack
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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14
15
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