\ 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 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 My stomach clenches at the thought of being in a room with him and like-minded members of the family. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Aspiring lawyer rests his case," 3 Sep. 2019 My stomach clenches at the thought of being in a room with him and like-minded members of the family. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Aspiring lawyer rests his case," 3 Sep. 2019 At the end of it all, Miguel clenched a thick stack of papers from Oregon universities and community colleges., "Children of Oregon’s migrant workers: hungry to learn, unsure of their future," 12 Aug. 2019 Tabares eventually complied, turned to face Esparza, clenched his fists, began speaking loudly and moved toward the officer, according to the records. Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot, "Federal judge upholds Huntington Beach officer’s use of deadly force in 2017 shooting," 31 July 2019 Don’t misunderstand, the familiar Tarantino gut-clenching ultra-violence, especially against women, has hardly disappeared. Los Angeles Times, "Review: A Quentin Tarantino skeptic takes great pleasure in ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’," 24 July 2019 In the women’s division, Miki Sudo, also the defending champion, clenched the Mustard Belt again with her sixth consecutive first-place finish. Currie Engel, Time, "Joey Chestnut Claims 12th Title at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest," 4 July 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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Statistics for clench

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for clench

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

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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

Comments on clench

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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