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wracked or racked?

(18 Posts)
TriciaF Wed 28-Oct-15 10:58:25

On another forum I was writing about racking my brain about something, trying to remember a song.
It also comes into racked with pain (Old Man River?)
Should I have put a "w" in front of the "r"?

Ana Wed 28-Oct-15 11:05:26

No, wrack is a seaweed.

hildajenniJ Wed 28-Oct-15 11:35:34

To wrack with pain and to wreak havoc have a similar derivation. I would always put a w on the beginning. To me rack is a stack of shelves on which to put shoes etc.

Luckygirl Wed 28-Oct-15 11:45:31

Well I would have put a w, but consensus on the net seems to be no w.

whenim64 Wed 28-Oct-15 12:31:01

Both spellings are used and accepted eg nerve-wracking, racked my brain, wreak havoc.

whitewave Wed 28-Oct-15 12:33:11

Is a wrack an instrument of torture?

Ana Wed 28-Oct-15 12:37:40

No, that's a rack - to stretch the arms and legs of the victim!

Anya Wed 28-Oct-15 12:44:01

Ana that's correct, seaweed - such as bladder wrack, often seen washed up on shore.

Alea Wed 28-Oct-15 16:30:58

But the past tense of "wreak" is surely "wreaked or wrought".
I think the confusion has arisen because of the similarity with "wreck".
It is definitely nerve-racking, racked with pain etc, from as you say, the instrument of torture, the rack.

Lona Wed 28-Oct-15 16:35:49

I would have said 'wracked' but you make sense Alea, so 'racked' it is from now on! smile

stillhere Wed 28-Oct-15 16:37:54

Oxford dictionary says 'wracked with guilt' can be either.

TriciaF Wed 28-Oct-15 17:01:04

I've gone back to "rack" too, after searching in our dictionary. 7th edition of Concise Oxford dictionary of Current English.
From that it seems that rack means stretch, so rack your brains means stretching your brain to it's limits to find an answer.
"Wrack" is a type of seaweed, as well as being a much older word, derived from the old Norse for wreck. With or without the "k".

Alea Wed 28-Oct-15 17:05:24

Not in my OED, stillhere even the online one fails to find a verb to wrack
wrack is a noun , meaning 1) a type of seaweed, 2) destruction 3) a wreck or wreckage and 4) a rack or parallel formation

Nelliemoser Wed 28-Oct-15 17:26:21

I would have said wracked with pain. As the "w" is silent anyway it really does not matter.
But he "wreaked havoc" seems to be being used most if you Google it. "Over wrought" "Wrought iron" are all to do with a stretching process.

I wonder who is using a UK English spelling check and who is using an American one?

Ana Wed 28-Oct-15 17:31:45

Why? Is there a difference in the way it's spelled in the US? confused

I haven't seen mention of it anywhere...

Nelliemoser Wed 28-Oct-15 17:47:31

Ana I don't really know but the Americans do tend to simplify a lot of our UK English spelling.

This link is for those who (can)BA to to find out a bit more.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_American_and_British_English

Ana Wed 28-Oct-15 17:50:46

Well, yes, I know they spell certain words differently, Nelliemoser, but wasn't aware that it wasin any way applicable to the 'rack' or 'wrack' issue!

Alea Wed 28-Oct-15 18:08:04

"Wrought" as in " wrought iron" has nothing to do with wreaking, wrecking or racking, it is to do with an archaic usage of "to work, or to do " ("what wonders the Lord hath wrought")

Wrought definition, Archaic except in some senses. a simple past tense and past participle of work
So wrought iron means "worked" iron i.e. rendered decorative by hammering, bending etc.