\ 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 twisty (audio) \ adjective

Examples of twist in a Sentence


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.


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

Parscale has assumed the role of Trump’s troll-in-chief, backing his boss’s boasts and false claims; generating ads playing to voters’ fears; twisting the knife on the president’s opponents; and caricaturing Democrats’ policies. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "The Myths of the “Genius” Behind Trump’s Reelection Campaign," 11 Sep. 2019 Minnesota United lost to one of the worst teams in MLS on Wednesday, and a former Loon helped twist the knife. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Minnesota United curtail playoff push in loss to one of league’s worst," 11 Sep. 2019 Still, Shanley manages with lyrical economy to create a twisting battle of wills, building to the kind of satisfying confrontation scene audiences crave. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘Doubt’ covered child abuse in the church a decade and a half ago. It’s still relevant.," 10 Sep. 2019 The picture on the puzzle consists of a twisting vine. Quanta Magazine, "The Puzzling Search for Perfect Randomness," 20 Aug. 2019 The supermodel also dislocated her wrist and, on top of that, had already twisted her ankle earlier in practice. Christina Dugan,, "Christie Brinkley's Daughter Sailor Reveals She Didn't Want to Join Dancing with the Stars at First," 17 Sep. 2019 Some packages contain a single lock, shorter than a thumbnail; others hold long clumps, twisted like spaghetti. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "Why This Scientist Keeps Receiving Packages of Serial Killers’ Hair," 16 Sep. 2019 Michele Dauber, the leader of the Persky Recall campaign, lied and twisted the facts about the Turner case and at least five of Persky’s past cases; this false information was published by the news media without any apparent fact-checking. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Cupertino school talks safety, but hired Persky to coach girls?," 15 Sep. 2019 The 21-year-old completed his hat-trick early in the second half, twisting his defender inside-out before lashing past Patricio once again., "Wolves 2-5 Chelsea: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Tammy Abraham Runs Riot in Mad Molineux Encounter," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In week 3, USA’s tribunal — made up of Josh Martinez, Laurel Stucky and Zach Nichols — took advantage of the season’s twist and threw in their own teammate, Bergmann, to compete against U.K.’s Stephen Bear. Breanne L. Heldman,, "The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2: Laurel Stucky and Cara Maria Sorbello's Feud Is Heating Up," 17 Sep. 2019 Park staffers Julie Herchenbach, Dana Haley and Beth Bronstein came up with new twists to the long-time, annual event. Denys Bucksten,, "Moms and sons hang out in Libertyville," 16 Sep. 2019 That end-twist came after a scarier, more insular entry for the franchise (notably directed by The Orphanage filmmaker J.A. Bayona as opposed to Trevorrow) that had already seen Isla Nublar melt down during a volcanic eruption. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "How the ‘Battle at Big Rock’ Short Film Sets Up a Smarter, Scarier ‘Jurassic World 3’," 16 Sep. 2019 It's not revealed until the end of the book and that's kind of like one of the twists. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Akwaeke Emezi on "Pet" and on Making a Better World for Their Protagonist, a Black Trans Girl Named Jam," 13 Sep. 2019 This recruitment is going to take many more twists even after Evans commits. al, "Southern 120: Where will the 19 uncommitted prospects end up?," 13 Sep. 2019 For a twist on French toast, try this one with a crunchy coating of cornflakes. Los Angeles Times, "6 easy, sweet brunch recipes to make at home," 13 Sep. 2019 Spacious and atmospheric, the emotive track is built around its titular vocal sample which twists and turns on a bed of breakbeats, fading in and out like a dream interrupted. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Black Coffee & Usher, Riva Starr & More," 13 Sep. 2019 The twist is intended to draw attention to the real-world disparity between what women and men are paid at work. Sarah Min, CBS News, "In Hasbro's new Ms. Monopoly, women earn more than men," 10 Sep. 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.

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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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Statistics for twist

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for twist

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

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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

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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 Encyclopedia article about twist

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