Get the details behind our redesign


[reek] /rik/
verb (used with object)
to inflict or execute (punishment, vengeance, etc.):
They wreaked havoc on the enemy.
to carry out the promptings of (one's rage, ill humor, will, desire, etc.), as on a victim or object:
He wreaked his anger on the office staff.
before 900; Middle English wreken, Old English wrecan; cognate with German rächen to avenge, Old Norse reka to drive, avenge, Gothic wrikan to persecute; akin to Latin urgēre to drive, push
Related forms
wreaker, noun
Can be confused
rack, wrack, wreak, wreck.
racked, wracked, wreaked, wrecked.
1. visit, vent, unleash. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for wreaked
  • The corporate overlords would profit mightily off the carnage wreaked by faulty products flooding our villages and homes.
  • Hardly a day goes by without news of some further disaster wreaked by the freezing up of credit.
  • In some areas, storm surges nearly three stories high wreaked havoc on coastal and inland communities alike.
  • But the damp coastal climate wreaked havoc with the bodies.
  • Our centuries-long addiction to fossil fuels has wreaked havoc on our planet.
  • But it was the family tendency toward addiction that wreaked damage of epic proportions.
  • Papers carried lurid pieces describing the havoc it wreaked.
  • The floods have wreaked untold harm on a place that has already suffered grievously.
  • He wreaked havoc with his family and his two wives and no day went by without some outburst or perceived slight.
  • Wage inflation has remained tame, preventing the upward spiral of pay and prices that wreaked such harm on previous occasions.
British Dictionary definitions for wreaked


verb (transitive)
to inflict (vengeance, etc) or to cause (chaos, etc) to wreak havoc on the enemy
to express, or gratify (anger, hatred, etc)
(archaic) to take vengeance for
Derived Forms
wreaker, noun
Word Origin
Old English wrecan; related to Old Frisian wreka, Old High German rehhan (German rächen), Old Norse reka, Latin urgēre to push
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wreaked
O.E. wrecan "avenge," originally "to drive, drive out, punish" (class V strong verb; past tense wræc, pp. wrecen), from P.Gmc. *wrekanan (cf. O.S. wrekan, O.N. reka, O.Fris. wreka, M.Du. wreken "to drive, push, compel, pursue, throw," O.H.G. rehhan, Ger. rächen "to avenge," Goth. wrikan "to persecute"), from PIE base *werg- "to work, to do" (cf. Lith. vergas "distress," vergas "slave," O.C.S. vragu "enemy," L. urgere; see urge (v.)). Meaning "inflict or take vengeance," with on, is recorded from c.1489; that of "inflict or cause (damage or destruction)" is attested from 1817.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for wreak

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for wreaked

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with wreaked