\ 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


cling (to), clutch, grip, hold

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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

When police arrived, the man yelled profanities at officers, clenched his fists and tried to provoke a fight with them. Bob Sandrick,, "Man, boy fight each other on Wallace Drive in Berea; drunk man tries to pick fight with Berea police," 21 June 2019 Depending on how the patients clench their jaws, the wheelchair moves in a specific direction. Naseem S. Miller,, "UCF spin-off company CytoSen acquired in $70 million deal," 14 June 2019 Mike calls him a psychopath, and Luke P. pulls up the definition of psychopath on his phone in an aside and says that's the opposite of him. Luke P. is seen clenching his fist in what will surely be compared to the meme of Arthur. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "'The Bachelorette' recap: The stage is set for epic showdown between Luke P. and Luke S.," 3 June 2019 In one moment, Hopkins clenched his fist, his neck tendons went taut and out came all of his frustrations when a missed UNC shot sat tantalizing on the rim. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Huskies’ magic dries up as North Carolina gives UW another early exit from NCAA tournament," 24 Mar. 2019 As the virtual speedometer climbs, a human driver’s jaw will clench involuntarily, or relax into a grin. Written By Christopher Robbins; Photographs By Josh Ethan Johnson, New York Times, "They Have Seen the Future, and It’s Wasting Zombies at the Arcade," 17 Jan. 2018 Whimsical cartoons of tough guys, clenching cigarettes in steel-trap jaws. Kirk Johnson, New York Times, "He Couldn’t Refuse a Deathbed Plea. Now He’s Got 10,000 Pieces of Art.," 24 June 2018 Manafort sat at the defense table, at times clenching his jaw, and appearing to swallow hard. Catherine Herridge, Jason Donner, Fox News, "Reporter's Notebook: Excitement in Manafort trial courtroom as jury deliberates," 20 Aug. 2018 But children said they were restrained by staff for actions such as clenching their fists or moving their hands. Joseph O’sullivan, The Seattle Times, "Report: Washington foster kids sent to Iowa were abused in facility run ‘like a correctional institution’," 17 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for clench

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clench

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on clench

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clench

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clench

Spanish Central: Translation of clench

Nglish: Translation of clench for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clench for Arabic Speakers

Comments on clench

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