Nerve-wrecking Or Nerve-wracking

Discussion in 'English Only' started by soumet, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. soumet Member

    China Chinese
    What is the difference between nerve-wracking and nerve-wrecking?

    I can't find an entry of nerve-wrecking in the Longman dictionary.

    But I've seen sentences using nerve wreck. Wreck can be used as

    a verb. So I think it's natural to have such a word as nerve-wrecking,

    which can be used to describe a situation that gives people lots of

    pressure. Am I right? What do you think? Thank you for your time!
  2. Pidginboy Senior Member

    India-Local dialect

  3. Unless you can quote some of them, giving context and source, I can only conclude that they are typos for 'nerve-wracking'.

    You might see 'nerve-shredding', but 'nerve-wrecking' is non-standard English.

  4. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I agree with Rover.
  5. soumet Member

    China Chinese
    Dean hated flying, and by the time we reached the airport

    he was a nervous wreck.

    The one above is from Longman English Dictionary.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    That is not an example of nerve-wrecking.

    In your example, wreck is a noun.

    I agree with the others, nerve-wrecking is almost certainly a mistake.
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    ... or a deliberate pun on the standard nerve-wracking:)
  8. soumet Member

    China Chinese

    Yes, I know. But wreck can be used as a verb. So if we can say

    wreck nerves, I don`t see why we can`t say `nerve-wrecking'.

    Thank you all for the help.
  9. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I suppose we could, but we don't. It's just not an idiom.
  10. yen456 New Member

    American English
    Hello, :)

    I was also confused and Googled this for more answer. But after hearing everyone's responses and answers, I think I was able to take apart the meaning and decipher this:

    If you were to say "The baby climbed up the stairs. It's nerve-racking watching him climb". Then it's racking, or wracking. Meaning the building up of nerves.

    If you were to say "It's his wedding day and oh man! He's a nerve wreck." Then it's wreck. Meaning you are a wreck because you are so nervous.

    Does that make sense? :) It makes sense in my head so I'm going to analyze is like that. Hehe :)

  11. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    You have the situations determined correctly. The errors do not affect whether you have chosen wreck or wrack for the correct use.

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