American English

Definition of wreck noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a ship that has sunk or that has been very badly damaged see also shipwreck
  2. 2a car, plane, etc. that has been very badly damaged in an accident Two passengers are still trapped in the wreck. She was pulled from the burning wreck by firefighters. 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
  3. 3[usually singular] (informal) a person who is in a bad physical or mental condition Physically, I was a total wreck. The experience left her an emotional wreck. The interview reduced him to a nervous wreck.
  4. 4(informal) a vehicle, building, etc. that is in very bad condition The house was a wreck when we bought it. (figurative) They still hoped to salvage something from the wreck of their marriage.
  5. 5= crash a car/train wreck
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: wreck