From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Wretch \Wretch\, n. [OE. wrecche, AS. wrecca, wr[ae]cca, an
   exile, a wretch, fr. wrecan to drive out, punish; properly,
   an exile, one driven out, akin to AS. wr[ae]c an exile, OS.
   wrekkio a stranger, OHG. reccheo an exile. See Wreak, v.
   [1913 Webster]
   1. A miserable person; one profoundly unhappy. "The wretch
      that lies in woe." --Shak.
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            Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
            Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
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   2. One sunk in vice or degradation; a base, despicable
      person; a vile knave; as, a profligate wretch.
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   Note: 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.
         [1913 Webster]
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