\ 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 Newmaster garnered about 21 percent of votes, with Arcand clenching the third open seat with 18 percent. Michelle Griffith, Twin Cities, "White Bear Lake Area School Board election results: Angela Thompson, Margaret Newmaster and Scott Arcand elected," 6 Nov. 2019 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 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. Howard Fendrich,, "Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman lead Nationals past Dodgers, 6-1, to force deciding Game 5 in NLDS," 8 Oct. 2019 Dols garnered about 17 percent, clenching the third seat of the school board. Pioneer Press Elections Team, Twin Cities, "South Washington County School Board election results: Louise Hinz, Simi Patnaik and Melinda Dols elected," 5 Nov. 2019 Upstairs, clenching her fists, Serena stood confronting the full-length mirror in her room. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, "The Bunty Club," 21 Oct. 2019 The report also said Rolle clenched his fists, which could not be confirmed or contradicted by the videos. Rafael Olmeda,, "Deputy acquitted of lying about head-slamming arrest of teenager DeLucca Rolle," 26 Sep. 2019 The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., sat to one side of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, clenching his jaw, fidgeting, and often taking sips of water. New York Times, "On Schneiderman Case, Cuomo and Vance Reach a Tense Truce," 10 May 2018 My stomach clenches at the thought of being in a room with him and like-minded members of the family. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: I hate their politics. Do I have to go to the wedding?," 3 Sep. 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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for clench


How to pronounce clench (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on clench

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clench

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clench

Spanish Central: Translation of clench

Nglish: Translation of clench for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clench for Arabic Speakers

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