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[rech-id] /ˈrɛtʃ ɪd/
adjective, wretcheder, wretchedest.
very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; miserable; pitiable.
characterized by or attended with misery and sorrow.
despicable, contemptible, or mean:
a wretched miser.
poor, sorry, or pitiful; worthless:
a wretched job of sewing.
1150-1200; Middle English wrecchede. See wretch, -ed3
Related forms
wretchedly, adverb
wretchedness, noun
unwretched, adjective
1. dejected, distressed, afflicted, woeful, woebegone, forlorn, unhappy. 2. Wretched, miserable, sorry refer to that which is unhappy, afflicted, or distressed. Wretched refers to a condition of extreme affliction or distress, especially as outwardly apparent: wretched hovels. Miserable refers more to the inward feeling of unhappiness or distress: a miserable life. Sorry applies to distressed, often poverty-stricken outward circumstances; but it has connotations of unworthiness, incongruousness, or the like, so that the beholder feels more contempt than pity: in a sorry plight. 3. base, vile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wretchedness
  • Brilliant as a resistance leader, he has turned out to be rotten at government, leading his people into wretchedness.
  • Wealth may be unevenly spread, so that a high average disguises widespread wretchedness.
  • It is an enormous human loss at an astonishing scale and neither of us can fathom the wretchedness of the situation.
  • His suffering soon became the embodiment of all earthly wretchedness.
  • We have had our bellyful of a species of wretchedness which is thoroughly pleased with itself.
  • Freeman's humanity and intelligence are unmistakable, as always, but not even he can rise above the wretchedness of this role.
  • Rarely has physical wretchedness been rendered with such delicacy.
  • It has its own wretchedness, its own dramatic values, when it is presented as a state of tension.
  • But these days the talk usually turns not to the wretchedness of the work but the difficulty in finding it.
  • It is such manifest proof of the wretchedness of its author that no further comment by me is necessary.
British Dictionary definitions for wretchedness


in poor or pitiful circumstances
characterized by or causing misery
despicable; base
poor, inferior, or paltry
(prenominal) (intensifier qualifying something undesirable): a wretched nuisance
Derived Forms
wretchedly, adverb
wretchedness, noun
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 wretchedness



c.1200, wrecched, an irregular formation from wrecche "wretch" (see wretch). Cf. also wicked.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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