American English

Definition of wreck verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they wreck
    he / she / it wrecks
    past simple wrecked
    -ing form wrecking
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  1. 1wreck something to damage or destroy something The building had been wrecked by the explosion. The mob wrecked twenty-four cars. Thesauruscrashslam collide smash wreckThese are all words that can be used when something, especially a vehicle, hits something else very hard and is damaged or destroyed.crash (somewhat informal) to hit an object or another vehicle, causing damage; to make a vehicle do this:I was terrified that the plane would crash.slam (something) into/against somebody/something to crash into something with a lot of force; to make something do this:The car skidded and slammed into a tree.collide (somewhat formal) (of two vehicles or people) to crash into each other; (of a vehicle or person) to crash into someone or something else:The car and the van collided head-on in thick fog.smash (somewhat informal) to crash into something with a lot of force; to make something do this; to crash a car:The thieves smashed a stolen car through the store's display.crash, slam, or smash?Crash is used especially to talk about vehicles and can be used without a preposition:We're going to crash, aren't we?In this meaning slam and smash always take a preposition:We're going to slam/smash, aren't we?They are used for a much wider range of things than just vehicles. Crash can also be used for other things, if used with a preposition:She turned the corner in the hallway and crashed into the soda machine.wreck to crash a vehicle and damage it very badlyPatterns two vehicles crash/collide two vehicles/people/things crash/slam/smash >into each other> to crash/smash/wreck a car
  2. 2wreck something (for somebody) to spoil something completely The weather wrecked all our plans. A serious injury nearly wrecked his career.
  3. 3[usually passive] wreck something to damage a ship so much that it sinks or can no longer sail The ship was wrecked off the coast of France. see also shipwreck
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: wreck