\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



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

b : eccentricity, idiosyncrasy

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 \ 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

The unique ride uses gyro technology to twist, flip and spin those seeking thrills, while suspending them up to 70 feet in the air. Prescotte Stokes Iii, star-telegram, "Are you up for a hair-raising spin at Six Flags ... at 70 feet in the air?," 11 July 2018 There's also Sakharov's writing table with one leg held in place with what appears to be twisted string — said to be Sakharov's own repair job. Stephen Wade, Fox News, "Nizhny Novgorod: Soviet 'closed city' teems with tourists," 30 June 2018 Powerless to play hockey and helpless to even twist his neck, Logan Hutsko considered his options in late 2015. Matthew Defranks,, "Nearly paralyzed by broken neck, Panthers' draft pick Logan Hutsko chases dream of NHL," 28 June 2018 Gaining control of her hands and fingers eventually allowed her to twist one piece into the correct position and snap it cleanly into place. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Inward Empire," 27 June 2018 Gently pull the tick upward, making sure not to twist or squeeze it. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Tick season: what you need to know about ticks and how to remove them," 23 May 2018 All kinds of bat-signals went off when The New York Times revealed the plot twist the Sunday prior to the issue's publication on July 4. David Betancourt,, "Fans were mad that Batman and Catwoman's wedding day surprise was ruined. But the story is still great.," 10 July 2018 Emergency personnel with sniffer dogs searched for signs of life amid the wreckage of concrete slabs and twisted metal after the 950-ton bridge crushed vehicles on one of the busiest roads in South Florida. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "West University Place conducts drainage study," 7 July 2018 Washing Machine: Stand straight and twist your upper body from side to side. Elizabeth Carey, Outside Online, "How to Warm Up for a Run," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The twists and turns of the plot, which take viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, expose the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself… and ultimately find love. Hal Boedeker,, "Jane Austen: Unfinished novel becomes ‘Masterpiece’ series," 10 July 2018 But this rich and romantic tale has twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your cabana chair. Patty Rhule, USA TODAY, "'The Summer Wives' sizzles with tale of passion, murder, money," 9 July 2018 This story appears in VoxCare, a newsletter from Vox on the latest twists and turns in America’s health care debate. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Anthony Kennedy’s departure from the Supreme Court could have significant repercussions for health care.," 6 July 2018 This summer, a company called Virfit introduced the Vhoop fitted with sensors and a Bluetooth transmitter to monitor a user’s every twist and turn via smartphone app, marrying the quintessential 1950s obsession to the latest fitness-tracking fad. Alec Scott, Smithsonian, "The Iconic Hula Hoop Keeps on Rolling," 26 June 2018 The famously larger-than-life personality’s grand emotional display on Tuesday tracked the dramatic twists and turns of the game, which saw Lionel Messi score a beautiful goal early on before Argentina’s play began to falter. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Soccer Legend Displays Every Mood Known to Man With His Dramatic World Cup Reaction," 26 June 2018 Those of us on a budget have navigated not only the complex twists and turns of this big box chain, but faced the agony of attempting to assemble our purchases once home. Beth Spotswood,, "At least no assembly’s required for forgettable IKEA all-you-can-eat deal," 19 June 2018 Sometimes, that means taking twists and turns and experimenting with something that, in the end, doesn’t work out. Bryan Washington, GQ, "Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda Is Taking the Next Step," 15 June 2018 The conclusion to the season was full of twists and turns as South Africa's fairytale ending was almost dashed on a number of occasions. George Ramsay, CNN, "Paris Sevens: South Africa win World Series title in dramatic finale," 10 June 2018

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 2018

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 \
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

Comments on twist

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one that holds something together

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