\ 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
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

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 The existence of these story lines illustrates how people will often take any development, no matter how clear-cut, and twist it to reinforce their own worldviews. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "Don’t Expect Trump’s Diagnosis to Change the Minds of Pandemic Skeptics," 2 Oct. 2020 Birthright will be screened at the outset as participants assemble in a circle in the museum’s historic Great Hall and are invited to twist newspapers with the artist while sharing family stories. Charlotte J. Ickes, Smithsonian Magazine, "Artist Maren Hassinger Has Spent Her Entire Career Mediating the Current Moment," 9 Sep. 2020 And what about those who misinterpret or willfully try to twist the new data to make COVID-19 seem like less of a threat? Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Here's What the CDC's COVID-19 Deaths Data Really Means," 1 Sep. 2020 The secret is in the infamous Air Force video, Sandlin says, where even the disoriented zero gravity cats are bending their bodies and managing to begin to twist. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "That Time the Air Force Tossed Cats in Zero Gravity," 24 Aug. 2020 Gérard Araud, who previously served as France’s ambassador to Washington and U.N. envoy, said China is doing what the U.S. used to do decades ago—offer countries gifts or twist their arms. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "How China Is Taking Over International Organizations, One Vote at a Time," 29 Sep. 2020 Crimp and twist the edge all the way around to seal in the filling. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Veggie Option: These savory pies are a handful," 24 Sep. 2020 On at least three snaps Sunday, Buckner tried to twist out of a double team, around his fellow defensive tackle and get a 1-on-1, but the way Minshew was getting the ball out of the pocket, that often took a little too long. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Expect double teams for Colts' $21 million man, so DeForest Buckner must feast on 1-on-1 chances," 15 Sep. 2020 According to the mycologist Paul Stamets, based in Olympia, Wash., more than eight miles of mycelium can twist through a single cubic inch of soil. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "Mushrooms, the Last Survivors," 18 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And this latest twist where scammers pretend to be from Amazon follows a similar script. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Amazon Prime Day 2020: Beware of these online shopping scams," 12 Oct. 2020 The novel ends with a surprising twist, that, depending on one's perceptions, will leave the reader either delighted or disappointed, but definitely not indifferent. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "'Invisible Girl' review: Lisa Jewell's latest edge-of-your-seat thriller stands out," 11 Oct. 2020 There’s enough revvy eagerness in the twist grip to make acceleration out of canyon corners fun. Joe Michaud, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Triumph’s big win," 11 Oct. 2020 Wreck-Reation PE is physical education with a fun Parks and Recreation twist. Gary Curreri,, "Coconut Creek offers ‘Wreck-Reational’ PE program," 9 Oct. 2020 Stocks had climbed to session highs on Friday on the first reports of the White House upping its offer on coronavirus relief, but failed to gain further steam from Trump’s latest twist. Erik Wasson,, "Trump Says He Now Wants Bigger Stimulus Than Democrats Offering," 9 Oct. 2020 After seven months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of Madrid’s most famous flamenco spots are finally reopening to customers — albeit with an unusual modern twist to the traditional performance. Travel + Leisure, "COVID-19 Protocols Can't Stop the Spirit of Madrid's Flamenco Dancers," 7 Oct. 2020 The non-partisan kits do not endorse a particular candidate, but offer a simple message — Vote 2020 — with a red-and-black Blazers twist. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers releasing ‘Rip City Votes Kits’ as part of effort to boost voter turnout," 7 Oct. 2020 Wilkinson's gold medal-winning dive in 2000 consisted of two and a half somersaults and a half twist. Amy Wray And Rachael Scott, CNN, "Gold medalist Laura Wilkinson attempts Olympic comeback after nearly a decade in retirement," 3 Oct. 2020

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

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Twist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for twist


How to pronounce twist (audio)

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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