Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb, \ˈriŋ\

Simple Definition of wring

  • : to twist and squeeze (wet cloth, hair, etc.) to remove water

  • : to get (something) out of someone or something with a lot of effort

  • : to twist and break (an animal's neck) in order to kill the animal

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of wring

wrung play \ˈrəŋ\ wringing play \ˈriŋ-iŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to squeeze or twist especially so as to make dry or to extract moisture or liquid <wring a towel dry>

  3. 2 :  to extract or obtain by or as if by twisting and compressing <wring water from a towel> <wring a confession from the suspect>

  4. 3 a :  to twist so as to strain or sprain into a distorted shape <I could wring your neck> b :  to twist together (clasped hands) as a sign of anguish

  5. 4 :  to affect painfully as if by wringing :  torment <a tragedy that wrings the heart>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  squirm, writhe

wring noun

Examples of wring in a sentence

  1. I wrung the towel and hung it up to dry.

  2. I wrung my hair and wrapped it in a towel.

Origin of wring

Middle English, from Old English wringan; akin to Old High German ringan to struggle, Lithuanian rengtis to bend down, Old English wyrgan to strangle — more at worry

First Known Use: before 12th century

WRING Defined for Kids


verb \ˈriŋ\

Definition of wring for Students

wrung \ˈrəŋ\wringing

  1. 1 :  to twist or press so as to squeeze out moisture <Wring out your bathing suit.>

  2. 2 :  to get by or as if by twisting or pressing <Police wrung a confession from the criminal.>

  3. 3 :  to twist with a forceful or violent motion <He wrung the chicken's neck.>

  4. 4 :  to affect as if by wringing <The bad news wrung our hearts.>

  5. 5 :  to twist (hands) together as a sign of anguish

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up wring? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a timid, meek, or unassertive person

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce soothe perplex disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.