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wretch

[rech] /rɛtʃ/
noun
1.
a deplorably unfortunate or unhappy person.
2.
a person of despicable or base character.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English wrecche, Old English wrecca exile, adventurer; cognate with German Recke warrior, hero, Old Norse rekkr man
Can be confused
retch, winch, wrench, wretch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for wretch
  • We cannot appreciate such magnanimity to such a wretch.
  • Anyone making less than me is a pathetic wretch and should be given the thief's money.
  • It would be unique in a way that any ink-stained wretch would envy.
British Dictionary definitions for wretch

wretch

/rɛtʃ/
noun
1.
a despicable person
2.
a person pitied for his misfortune
Word Origin
Old English wrecca; related to Old Saxon wrekkeo, Old High German reccheo (German Recke warrior), Old Norse rek(n)ingr
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 wretch
n.

Old English wrecca "wretch, stranger, exile," from Proto-Germanic *wrakjan (cf. Old Saxon wrekkio, Old High German reckeo "a banished person, exile," German recke "renowned warrior, hero"), related to Old English wreccan "to drive out, punish" (see wreak). Sense of "vile, despicable person" developed in Old English, reflecting the sorry state of the outcast, as presented in much of Anglo-Saxon verse (e.g. "The Wanderer"). Cf. German Elend "misery," from Old High German elilenti "sojourn in a foreign land, exile."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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14
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