\ ˈtwēk How to pronounce tweak (audio) \

Definition of tweak

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make usually small adjustments in or to tweak the controls especially : fine-tune
2 : to injure slightly
3 : to pinch (a person or a body part) lightly or playfully
4 : to pinch and pull with a sudden jerk and twist : twitch tweaked a bud from the stem
5a : annoy, bother tweaking the establishment
b : to criticize especially in a sly or sharp manner
c : to poke fun at

intransitive verb

1 : pull, pluck
2 : to make small adjustments


plural tweaks

Definition of tweak (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a small change or adjustment We made a few tweaks to the original recipe. Jellyfish collects information about what's happening behind the scenes and rushes it to its corporate clients so they can make investments based on things like forthcoming regulations or tax code tweaks.— Tim Murphy They'd try making helpful tweaks to the way my chair faced the computer…— Lucette Lagnado
2 : a sharp pinch or jerk a tweak of the nose Archie laughed, and Rose, seeing a merry blue eye winking at her from behind two brown hands, gave Charlie's ear a friendly tweak— Louisa May Alcott
3 : a slight injury causing pain … it's worth remembering that Pryor is a more dangerous runner than passer, so even a slight tweak of the leg or ankle could be a significant blow to the offense at State College.— Bob Hunter

Examples of tweak in a Sentence

Verb We just wanted to tweak his original idea a bit. He tweaked his ankle playing soccer. My brother hates it when our grandmother tweaks his cheek.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Former Evening Sun editorial cartoonist Mike Lane took pleasure in tweaking his subjects but found more happiness in being with members of his family. Meredith Cohn,, "Former Evening Sun editorial cartoonist Mike Lane, known for ‘free-flowing artistry and passionate advocacy,’ dies," 18 Nov. 2019 During her session, Sky approached Ebbesen, her music director, for suggestions on tweaking the singers’ timing and phrasings. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "Government support for a song? How seven teens won their own piece of the American Dream.," 7 Nov. 2019 After tweaking an ankle on a 10-yard run on the second play of the Wildcats’ next drive, Bowden was forced to the sideline, giving Smith his first action in four games. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Against Missouri, Lynn Bowden proved he is more than a gimmick at quarterback," 27 Oct. 2019 Freshman quarterback Joey Yellen entered a game for the first time when Daniels had to come out after tweaking his ankle on a third down sneak. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU football: What we learned from Arizona State's loss to UCLA," 27 Oct. 2019 Center Kevon Looney, who got the start after missing the entire preseason with a right hamstring injury, sat the second half Thursday after tweaking that same hamstring. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors’ season-opening shellacking by Clippers reveals their flaws," 25 Oct. 2019 Running back Alvin Kamara was limited because of an ankle injury and left the game late after tweaking a knee. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Bridgewater now 4-0 as starter after Saints top Jaguars 13-6," 13 Oct. 2019 After tweaking and testing, in 1976, Whittingham and his colleagues showed that combining lithium metal and titanium disulphide could not just make a battery, but one that was rechargeable. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "Winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry developed lithium-ion batteries," 9 Oct. 2019 The Portland Tribune’s Jason Vondersmith says Oregon is due some payback after being tweaked by Stanford last year. oregonlive, "Want to improve college football? Let’s scrap the replay reviews: Issues & Answers," 17 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tweak.' 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 tweak


1601, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4


1616, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tweak


probably alteration of Middle English twikken to pull sharply, from Old English twiccian to pluck — more at twitch entry 1

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Time Traveler for tweak

Time Traveler

The first known use of tweak was in 1601

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Statistics for tweak

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tweak.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for tweak


How to pronounce tweak (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tweak

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to change (something) slightly in order to improve it : to make small adjustments to (something)
: to injure (a part of your body) slightly
: to pinch and pull (something) with a sudden movement



English Language Learners Definition of tweak (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small change made in order to improve something
: a sudden pull or twist that causes a slight injury
: an act of pinching or pulling something


\ ˈtwēk How to pronounce tweak (audio) \
tweaked; tweaking

Kids Definition of tweak

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to pinch and pull with a sudden jerk and twist Grandpa tweaked my nose.



Kids Definition of tweak (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of pinching and pulling with a sudden jerk and twist

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More from Merriam-Webster on tweak

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tweak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tweak

Spanish Central: Translation of tweak

Nglish: Translation of tweak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tweak for Arabic Speakers

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