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Meaning of wretch

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English open dictionary


(?), n. [OE. wrecche, AS. wrecca, wr\'91cca, an exile, a wretch, fr. wrecan to drive out, punish; properly, an exile, one driven out, akin to AS. wr\'91c an exile, OS. wrekkio a stranger, OHG. reccheo an exile. See Wreak, v. t.]
[1913 Webster] 1. A miserable person; one profoundly unhappy. \'bdThe wretch that lies in woe.\'b8 Shak.
[1913 Webster] Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
[1913 Webster] 2. One sunk in vice or degradation; a base, despicable person; a vile knave; as, a profligate wretch.
[1913 Webster] Wretch is sometimes used by way of slight or ironical pity or contempt, and sometimes to express tenderness; as we say, poor thing. \'bdPoor wretch was never frighted so.\'b8 Drayton.
[1913 Webster]

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