\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Just twist the pen and add a few swipes to your cuticles for a quick boost. Ava Darrin, ELLE, 30 July 2022 Everything from like, on the back, a single leg windshield wiper, torso twist the other direction. Greg Presto, Men's Health, 26 July 2022 Wiggle thy toes, open thine eyes, twist thy fingers toward the sky. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 22 July 2022 Wiggle thy toes, open thine eyes, twist thy fingers toward the sky. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 20 July 2022 Yes, Democrats twist themselves into knots when the subject is crime, violent crime, or criminals. Kyle Smith, National Review, 30 June 2022 Using a muddler, lightly twist the mint leaves and break up the raspberries. Katie Kelly Bell, Forbes, 29 June 2022 Their liquid crystals twist 90 degrees to let light come through. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 25 June 2022 The forefoot and rearfoot need to twist on each other. Jay Dicharry, Outside Online, 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For guests looking to book experiences with a special twist, the hotel can arrange for sailing and helicopter tours of the region. Catherine Sabino, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 Some visitors, happily aware that there’s a flaneur’s funhouse—the visual onslaught of SoHo—just beyond the doors of the Drawing Center, will be primed to experience the show as one more twist in the contemporary spectacle. Jed Perl, The New York Review of Books, 3 Aug. 2022 Float apple juice on top and garnish with an orange twist. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 3 Aug. 2022 The new technology’s potential opens new and compelling medical ethics questions — and adds a new twist to some that remain unresolved. Evan Bush, NBC News, 3 Aug. 2022 Wallen showed contrition, and less than two months later the show re-invited him, with a hilarious twist. Ben Flanagan |, al, 3 Aug. 2022 John Krasinski played Mister Fantastic in the Doctor Strange sequel with a big twist. Chris Smith, BGR, 3 Aug. 2022 Season 5 of Big Brother featured the Project DNA twist. Dalton Ross,, 3 Aug. 2022 The stock market delivered a plot twist last month that rivals any show on TV. Max Zahn, ABC News, 2 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near twist



twist and turn

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Twist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for twist


\ 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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