\ ˈklench How to pronounce clench (audio) \
clenched; clenching; clenches

Definition of clench

transitive verb

2 : to hold fast : clutch clenched the arms of the chair
3 : to set or close tightly clench one's teeth clench one's fists

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Other Words from clench

clench noun

Synonyms for clench


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Examples of clench in a Sentence

He clenched his teeth and continued to look straight ahead. He clenched his fists in anger. She was angry and spoke quietly through clenched teeth. His jaw clenched and unclenched as he listened to the speech. She danced alone, with a rose clenched in her teeth. He was clenching a cigarette in his teeth.
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Recent Examples on the Web Then, if a feet-first entry is inevitable, the most important piece of advice, for reasons both unmentionable and easily understood, is to clench your butt. Dan Koeppel, Popular Mechanics, "Taking a Fall: The 120-MPH, 35,000 Feet, 3-Minutes-To-Impact Survival Guide," 14 Feb. 2021 Had a premolar decided to lie down on its side while its neighbors huddled inward, as if my mouth had decided to clench into a fist? Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "Smile! How Dental Work Became the New Face-Lift," 26 Jan. 2021 Within a matter of minutes, this surface tension has caused my own jaw to clench. Kari Molvar, Vogue, "Is Stress Contagious? Studies Say Yes—And Here’s How to Deal With It," 21 Jan. 2021 Consumption of caffeine and alcohol can play a role, as can slouching, says Brattesani, noting that the resulting forward head posture forces the neck bones out of alignment and leads people to clench to regain stability. Carolyne Zinko,, "Bay Area dentists spot 2020 stress in clenched jaws and cracked teeth," 1 Dec. 2020 His right hand continued to clench, then unclench, on its own. Mckenna Oxenden,, "Leon Fleisher, renowned Baltimore concert pianist, dies at 92," 2 Aug. 2020 But do Carol’s fuguelike depression, Anna’s psychosis and Bonnie’s clenched anhedonia really share DNA? Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Anatomy of a Suicide,’ Pain in Triplicate," 18 Feb. 2020 Another risk to your teeth during the coronavirus pandemic is teeth grinding or clenching, which can be aggravated by stress, said Messina. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, "Getting to the dentist during a pandemic," 5 May 2020 That was plenty for Scherzer, who clenched his teeth while getting through his last inning after loading the bases by issuing a pair of walks with one out in the seventh. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scherzer, Zimmerman lead Nats past LA 6-1 to force Game 5," 7 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clench.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clench

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clench

Middle English, from Old English -clencan; akin to Old English clingan to cling

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Time Traveler for clench

Time Traveler

The first known use of clench was in the 13th century

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Statistics for clench

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for clench



English Language Learners Definition of clench

: to set (something) in a tightly closed position
: to hold (something) tightly


\ ˈklench How to pronounce clench (audio) \
clenched; clenching

Kids Definition of clench

1 : to hold tightly : clutch She clenched a pen in her hand.
2 : to set or close tightly “I'll sit and clench my teeth and never tell you one thing.”— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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