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7 Essential Words of Fall

wreak

[reek] /rik/
verb (used with object)
1.
to inflict or execute (punishment, vengeance, etc.):
They wreaked havoc on the enemy.
2.
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.
Origin
900
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.
Synonyms
1. visit, vent, unleash.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for wreaking
  • There were always the pesky squirrels wreaking havoc with our best-laid plans.
  • Failing to fulfill their important and difficult role, some boards divert attention by wreaking havoc.
  • Stories aren't often deadly but they can be virulent: spreading fast, weakening resistance, wreaking havoc.
  • But wreaking havoc could get easier as carmakers add more wireless connectivity.
  • In science fiction, emotional computers and robots usually end up wreaking havoc.
  • In this case, they have to be placed in asylum to prevent wreaking havoc to corporations and the economy.
  • Snake venom is a blend of molecules, many of which are exquisitely adapted for wreaking havoc.
  • In ensuring our supply of food, they are wreaking havoc on our water and air.
  • Then cyclones batter the coastline, wreaking even further havoc.
  • There he is out of date, and capable of wreaking real harm.
British Dictionary definitions for wreaking

wreak

/riːk/
verb (transitive)
1.
to inflict (vengeance, etc) or to cause (chaos, etc): to wreak havoc on the enemy
2.
to express, or gratify (anger, hatred, etc)
3.
(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
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Word Origin and History for wreaking

wreak

v.

Old English wrecan "avenge," originally "to drive, drive out, punish" (class V strong verb; past tense wræc, past participle wrecen), from Proto-Germanic *wrekanan (cf. Old Saxon wrekan, Old Norse reka, Old Frisian wreka, Middle Dutch wreken "to drive, push, compel, pursue, throw," Old High German rehhan, German rächen "to avenge," Gothic wrikan "to persecute"), from PIE root *werg- "to work, to do" (cf. Lithuanian vergas "distress," vergas "slave;" Old Church Slavonic vragu "enemy;" Latin urgere; see urge (v.)). Meaning "inflict or take vengeance," with on, is recorded from late 15c.; that of "inflict or cause (damage or destruction)" is attested from 1817.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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