twist

verb
\ ˈtwist \
twisted; twisting; twists

Definition of twist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to unite by winding twisting strands together
b : to make by twisting strands together twist thread from yarn
c : to mingle by interlacing
2 : twine, coil
3a : to wring or wrench so as to dislocate or distort especially : sprain twisted my ankle
b : to alter the meaning of : distort, pervert twisted the facts
c : contort twisted his face into a grin
d : to pull off, turn, or break by torsion twist the nut off the bolt
e : to cause to move with a turning motion twisted her chair to face the fire
f : to form into a spiral shape
g : to cause to take on moral, mental, or emotional deformity celebrity has twisted their sense of decorum
h : to make (one's way) in a winding or devious manner to a destination or objective

intransitive verb

1 : to follow a winding course : snake
2a : to turn or change shape under torsion
b : to assume a spiral shape
c : squirm, writhe
d : to dance the twist
3 of a ball : to rotate while taking a curving path or direction
4 : turn sense 3a twisted around to see behind him
twist in the wind
: to be left to face a difficult situation without support or help
twist one's arm
: to bring strong pressure to bear on one

twist

noun

Definition of twist (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act of twisting : the state of being twisted
b : a dance performed with strenuous gyrations especially of the hips
c : the spin given the ball in any of various games
d : a spiral turn or curve
e(1) : torque or torsional stress applied to a body (such as a rod or shaft)
(2) : torsional strain
(3) : the angle through which a thing is twisted
2a : a turning off a straight course
c : a distortion of meaning or sense
3a : an unexpected turn or development weird twists of fate— W. L. Shirer
b : a clever device : trick questions demanding special twists of thinkingNew Yorker
c : a variant approach or method : gimmick a kind of twist on the old triangle theme— Dave Fedo
4 : something formed by twisting or winding: such as
a : a strip of citrus peel used to flavor a drink
b : a baked piece of twisted dough
c : a thread, yarn, or cord formed by twisting two or more strands together
d : a strong tightly twisted sewing silk
e : tobacco leaves twisted into a thick roll
5 : a front or back dive in which the diver twists sideways a half or full turn before entering the water

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from twist

Noun

twisty \ ˈtwi-​stē \ adjective

Examples of twist in a Sentence

Verb

The toy can be twisted into different shapes. She twisted balloons into the shapes of different animals. The antenna was twisted out of shape. The car was a heap of twisted metal after the accident. He twists his lip into an odd expression when he's thinking. twist the dials on the radio The bottle cap twists off.

Noun

a simple twist of the wrist The jar should open with a twist of the lid. The road has some nasty twists. The coastal road had many twists and turns. It was a film noir with some clever twists. In an unusual twist, the police arrested one of their own. They were brought together by a strange twist of fate.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new research, from the Australian RMIT University, says that by twisting that light into a spiral the transmission speed could be increased by orders of magnitude. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Fiber Optic Cable Could Make the Internet 100 Times Faster," 24 Oct. 2018 The idea is that by simply twisting the dynamics of the pilot in slightly new ways, a show’s early episodes can help viewers catch on to what the premise of the show is and who the characters are. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Why the era of Peak TV is the era of the disappointing second season," 1 Aug. 2018 Duffy later left the game after twisting his ankle on a swing in the eighth, but Cash said he was removed because of the score and is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday. Brian Hall, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Tampa Bay Rays turn three-inning outburst into 19-6 win over Minnesota Twins," 14 July 2018 Henderson started that game, but left on a stretcher after twisting his knee going after a foul popup behind the plate. Kirk Kenney, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Mississippi State coach Gary Henderson was thinking of his 1984 Aztecs when Bulldogs clinched College World Series berth," 16 June 2018 After twisting her brunette lengths into a high-slung topknot, Prinsloo fastened the swath of greyish blue fabric around the base and cinched it tight. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Behati Prinsloo Just Stole This New Mom Hair Trick From the Alexander Wang Runway," 5 June 2018 Their progress on the Gabrielino made a good impression on passersby, including Susan Campo, 70, a hiker who crossed paths with the mountain bikers on a stretch of twisting terrain skirting steep canyon walls near the 50-foot Switzer Falls. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "Closed for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail is nearly restored — thanks to mountain bikers," 2 May 2018 Also, fate has a way of twisting these oddly specific predictions of one’s own death in ways people don’t expect. Rachel Kaufman, Smithsonian, "An Elementary Lesson in Women’s Suffrage: “Timeless” Season 2, Episode 7, Recapped," 30 Apr. 2018 Fellow wideout Richaud Floyd will likely play in the game after twisting his ankle during the same practice. Alex Schiffer, kansascity, "Missouri will be without this wide receiver for Saturday's spring game | The Kansas City Star," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But who could forget those red carpet twists at the 1999 Emmy Awards? Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Happy Birthday Jennifer Aniston, Queen of Effortless Hair," 11 Feb. 2019 Fans are, unsurprisingly, losing their minds over the whole thing: the sexiness, the parallels, the surprise twist ending. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Hidden Sweetness In Ariana Grande's Sexy 'Break Up With Your Girlfriend' Video," 8 Feb. 2019 But there are a couple twists to this one: Benioff is buying Time magazine, not Fortune magazine and Money magazine, as many employees at those titles had been hoping for. Peter Kafka, Recode, "Are there any other billionaires out there to buy Fortune or Sports Illustrated?," 16 Sep. 2018 The first half of the album is heavy on material the band has been playing live, with some twists. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, "Life Ain’t Fairview Trio explores grittier side of Anchorage life in second album," 13 July 2018 Tim Wardle’s documentary contains as many twists as a great thriller. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Documentary explores a dark family reunion," 13 July 2018 The narrative drive lost some energy, as plot twists were recycled, and as the near misses and close calls piled up. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "There’s Emmy drama in the face-off between two of this year’s very best," 12 July 2018 This familiar premise leads to a twist: Instead of adrenaline rush suspense scenes, this plot languishes in mundane melancholia. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Night Eats the World,’ Zombie Apocalypse Now, Again," 12 July 2018 Getty Images Plot twist: she's been brunette before. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Emma Stone Just Swapped Her Signature Red Hair for a Totally New Look," 22 Jan. 2019

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for twist

Verb

Middle English, probably from Middle Dutch twisten, from twist twine, discord, quarrel; akin to Old English -twist (in candeltwist candlesnuffers, mæsttwist twin support for a mast), Middle English twisten to be forked, Middle High German zwist quarrel, Old English twi- twi-

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about twist

Statistics for twist

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for twist

The first known use of twist was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for twist

twist

verb

English Language Learners Definition of twist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bend or turn (something) in order to change its shape
: to bend or turn (something) into a shape or position that is not normal or natural
: to turn (something) in a circular motion with your hand

twist

noun

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

: an act of turning or twisting
: a turn, curve, or bend in a road, river, etc.
: an unexpected or strange occurrence

twist

verb
\ ˈtwist \
twisted; twisting

Kids Definition of twist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to turn a part of the body around She twisted in her seat.
2 : to follow a winding course The path twisted between the trees.
3 : to form into an unnatural shape : contort The girl twists her face.
4 : to unite by winding one thread, strand, or wire around another
6 : to turn so as to sprain or hurt He twisted his ankle.
7 : to pull off, rotate, or break by a turning force You can twist a flower from its stem.
8 : to turn (something) in a circular motion with the hand Twist off the cap.
9 : to change the meaning of You're twisting my words; that's not what I meant.

twist

noun

Kids Definition of twist (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that has been turned upon itself, coiled, or rotated twists of rope
2 : an act of turning with force, coiling, or rotating : the state of being turned with force, coiled, or rotated
3 : a spiral turn or curve
4 : a turn or development that is both surprising and strange
5 : an act of changing the meaning

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on twist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for twist

Spanish Central: Translation of twist

Nglish: Translation of twist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of twist for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about twist

Comments on twist

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

WORD OF THE DAY

esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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