wretch, n. and adj.
Etymology: Old English wrecca , wræcca , = Old Saxon wrekkio , -eo (applied to the Magi), Old High German reccheo , reccho , etc., exile, adventurer, knight errant (Middle High German and German recke warrior, hero)
< Old Germanic *wrakja(n)- ,
< the stem wrak- , wrek- : see wreak v. The contrast in the development of the meaning in English and German is remarkable.
[Etymonline:] Old English wrecca "wretch, stranger, exile,"
from Proto-Germanic * wrakjon "pursuer; one pursued" (cognates: Old Saxon wrekkio, Old High German reckeo "a banished person, exile," German recke "renowned warrior, hero") [...]
Would someone please explain OED`s last sentence? What's remarkable?
From the above, I see that * wrakjon induced two cognates with opposing meanings (in English, the pursued; in German, the pursuer). Is this difference what is remarkable?
Instead, should the remark arise from the Proto-Germanic *wrakjon? Was this a contronym?
How can the same word mean the subject and the object (ie: "pursuer; one pursued")?