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