A wretch is someone who is so miserable and unlucky that you almost have to feel sorry for the person. You might pity the poor wretch who was fired at work over something that wasn’t even his fault.

Wretch traces back to the Old English word wrecca, meaning “banished person” — so no wonder a wretch is so unhappy! A wretch is in such a bad situation that a sense of pity typically goes along with the word, and you’ll often see the terms “poor wretch” or “unfortunate wretch.” Wretch can also be used more informally to describe someone who’s wicked or hateful, like that ungrateful wretch who complained to the boss when you brought snacks to work.

Primary Meanings of wretch

someone you feel sorry for
someone who performs some wicked deed
Full Definitions of wretch

n someone you feel sorry for

poor devil
Type of:
an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance

n someone who performs some wicked deed

Type of:
miscreant, reprobate
a person without moral scruples

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