- 4chiefly archaic raise (rent) above a fair or normal amount. See also rack rent.
- gradually deteriorate in condition because of neglect; fall into disrepair.[rack from Old English wræc 'vengeance'; related to wreak]
Middle English: from Middle Dutch rec, Middle Low German rek 'horizontal bar or shelf', probably from recken 'to stretch, reach' (possibly the source of rack1 (sense 1 of the verb))
The relationship between the forms rack and wrack is complicated. The most common noun sense of rack, ‘a framework for holding and storing things’, is always spelled rack, never wrack. In the phrase rack something up the word is also always spelled rack. Figurative senses of the verb, deriving from the type of torture in which someone is stretched on a rack, can, however, be spelled either rack or wrack: thus racked with guilt or wracked with guilt; rack your brains or wrack your brains. In addition, the phrase rack and ruin can also be spelled wrack and ruin.