wreak
Posted: 02 October 2019 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have been hearing wreak being pronounced as “wreck” more than a few times over the last couple of years from TV announcers and their interviewees. I believe I hear it only when used with “havoc”. Is the pronunciation relatively new or from a certain area in the USA, or is it just a change that I am going to have to get used to? Or has it been around longer than my memory?

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Posted: 02 October 2019 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The OED (old entry) and American Heritage only give the /ɹik/ pronunciation. Merriam-Webster gives that and the /ɹek/ pronunciation.

Garner marks /ɹek/ as “Stage 1,” which means he considers it rare and a minority pronunciation, but as usual, he gives no evidence for this conclusion.

I’d say it’s definitely newer, but I don’t think it’s all that new or all that rare. I’ve heard it all my life, and until I looked it up right now, I had never been sure which was considered the standard pronunciation.

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Posted: 02 October 2019 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I don’t think I had ever heard it till something like 20- odd years ago, tops; and that was about the time I began to notice people writing ‘wreck havoc’. I think it’s a straightforward eggcorn, coined by people who have only ever encountered this verb associated with havoc.

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