monkey wrench


Definition of monkey wrench

1 : a wrench with one fixed and one adjustable jaw at right angles to a straight handle
2 : something that disrupts threw a monkey wrench into the peace negotiations

Illustration of monkey wrench

Illustration of monkey wrench

monkey wrench 1

Examples of monkey wrench in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Some new development like photosynthesis, some new surprise like an asteroid or a belch of volcanic carbon, throws a monkey wrench into the world order. Robert M. Thorson, WSJ, "‘Timefulness’ Review: Thinking in Eons," 30 Dec. 2018 His trade demand, however, appears to have thrown a monkey wrench into extension talks. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "With Leonard in limbo, Spurs may face franchise-shaping draft night," 20 June 2018 If the intent of the perpetrators is to throw a monkey wrench in U.S. foreign policy and get away with it, so far that mission has been accomplished. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Is Still Clueless About the Creepy 'Sonic' Attacks in China and Cuba," 7 June 2018 Prepare for your birth plan to get a monkey wrench thrown in it. Jessica Delfino, SELF, "9 Incredible C-Section Stories—and the Scars That Go With Them," 23 May 2018 USA Track & Field throws a monkey wrench into Mt. SAC's plans to host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. Ken Goe,, "Ducks to keep next week's Pac-12s in mind at Oregon Twilight: Oregon track & field rundown," 3 May 2018 But Cleveland threw a monkey wrench into those plans by selecting cornerback Denzel Ward out of Ohio State, leaving N.C. State edge defender Bradley Chubb on the board at No. Robert Klemko,, "Draft Notes: For Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, the Wait Was Worth It," 27 Apr. 2018 The trunk’s loaded with tools — nails, dynamite, sand, wire cutters, a .30-30 Model 94 and a fine set of monkey wrenches. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Red Caddy," 24 Apr. 2018 The hot trolling bite was tossed a monkey wrench on Thursday, though, as northeast winds provoked small craft warnings on the big waters., "Fishing Report for March 9: Rivers finally in shape, trout cooperating," 9 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of monkey wrench

circa 1807, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about monkey wrench

Share monkey wrench

Dictionary Entries near monkey wrench

monkey way

monkey with


monkey wrench




Statistics for monkey wrench

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for monkey wrench

The first known use of monkey wrench was circa 1807

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for monkey wrench

monkey wrench


English Language Learners Definition of monkey wrench

: a wrench that can be adjusted to grip or turn things of different sizes

monkey wrench


Kids Definition of monkey wrench

1 : a wrench with one fixed and one adjustable jaw
2 : something that disrupts The storm threw a monkey wrench into our plans.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on monkey wrench

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with monkey wrench

Spanish Central: Translation of monkey wrench

Nglish: Translation of monkey wrench for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about monkey wrench

Comments on monkey wrench

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


to corrupt or become corrupted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!