\ ˈtwist How to pronounce twist (audio) \
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



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

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Other Words from twist


twisty \ ˈtwi-​stē How to pronounce twist (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To function, these long chains of amino acids twist and fold and intertwine into complex shapes that can be slow, even impossible, to decipher. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 15 July 2021 Instead, twist open the tube and swirl the wand gently around before pulling it out. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 Hagen Wasden of Excel, Ala., produced Cerberus, an all-black 8-string beast with dual scale lengths that twist its frets out of the usual parallel alignment. al, 10 June 2021 Thread one end through the basket and twist the wire back on itself. Joe Kohl-riggs, Popular Mechanics, 26 June 2021 The study consisted of 1,000 U.S. consumers and reveals that credential sharing is a growing practice as software and streaming providers twist policies to prevent piracy. Juan Galdeano, Forbes, 22 June 2021 Anderton uses hands to zoom in, turn and twist, and project images everywhere around him to get a better look. Chris Smith, BGR, 9 June 2021 To twist the knife further, these totals are thought to be an underestimate as neither the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) nor the state agencies keep records specifically of physician casualties. Forbes, 26 May 2021 To prove his point, Nightingale had Best jump into the shot put ring his senior season and gave him a quick lesson on how to twist and explode before releasing the 12-pound ball. Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dinner and a show will get a major twist when Disney debuts its new cruise ship next year. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2021 What customers may not expect are the family’s expert Argentinian empanadas with an American twist, like their Buffalo chicken empanada. Arlene Borenstein-zuluaga,, 8 July 2021 Add accessories like visors, scarves, or aviator sunnies to give your look a unique twist. Essence, 8 July 2021 The tighter the twist, the more pronounced the waves. Anneke Knot,, 8 July 2021 Did you guys have to do any Game of Thrones–level, top secret practices to keep the big twist under wraps? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 July 2021 All of this means that for a year and a half we were left to ponder a truly shocking twist: Could Kristen be possessed? Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 20 June 2021 The first season ended with a truly shocking twist: Kristen murdered a serial killer who was threatening her family. Chancellor Agard,, 17 June 2021 Last week's shocking twist saw Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) and her brother Derek (Barrett Carnahan) get their hands on chat transcripts of Kate (Olivia Holt) and her sister Ashley (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut). Rosie Knight,, 1 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of twist


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


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for twist


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-

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Time Traveler for twist

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for twist

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Twist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for twist



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



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


\ ˈtwist How to pronounce twist (audio) \
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.



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

More from Merriam-Webster on twist

Nglish: Translation of twist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of twist for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about twist


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