monkey wrench


: a wrench with one fixed and one adjustable jaw at right angles to a straight handle
: 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 The missile launch that interrupted the social night out was a foretaste of Pyongyang’s ability to throw a monkey wrench into regional relations. Michael Auslin, Foreign Affairs, 16 Feb. 2017 This does, of course, throw a monkey wrench into the possibility of sustaining a relationship. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 The former president spends much of his time belittling others, boastfully repeating lies, characterizing himself as a martyr in the face of his many legal woes and throwing monkey wrenches into a congressional system that already barely functions. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2024 Those strikes put a monkey wrench in planning this year’s event, says Śniegowska, as many studios and distributors decided to delay the release of films slated for fall premieres. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 24 Oct. 2023 See all Example Sentences for monkey wrench 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'monkey wrench.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1807, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of monkey wrench was circa 1807

Dictionary Entries Near monkey wrench

Cite this Entry

“Monkey wrench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

monkey wrench

: a wrench with one fixed and one adjustable jaw

More from Merriam-Webster on monkey wrench

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