\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

That means anything goes — even writing an entire blog post twisting legal statements into spurious social media advice. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "How to use Instagram like an appropriation artist," 18 Oct. 2018 His locs are perpetually crisp and manicured, sometimes twisted together — another obvious aesthetic proclivity. Sharine Taylor, Allure, "For These Dancehall Artists, Hair Is Just as Important as the Music," 27 Sep. 2018 Wind two-inch sections of hair around a one-and-a-quarter-inch curling iron—twisting the hair backwards for one section, then forwards for the next section—hold for five seconds, and release. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "60-Second Glow Up: How to Get Dewy Skin and Messy Waves Fast," 17 July 2018 Husain’s rendering of the scene in flat planes of brilliant yellows and greens borrows features of Rajput miniatures, while the full-bodied, twisting pose of the woman seated in the cart evokes the three-dimensionality of classical temple sculpture. Michael Fitzgerald, WSJ, "‘The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India’ Review: A Movement Looks Forward," 20 Sep. 2018 This idea that the same events can be twisted by different sides to have different meanings., "The New Season Of You Must Remember This Explores Hollywood’s First Fake News Hoax," 9 July 2018 Posing for a series of Instagram photos, Beyoncé showcased her new dramatic top-knot style, where hair was twisted and tied up into a gravity defying updo. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Of Course, Beyoncé Has the Perfect Summer Updo on Lock," 1 July 2018 That this was somehow twisted into a narrative of Trump campaign collusion should be inherently suspect. WSJ, "The Facts, When Revealed, Will Tell All of It," 29 June 2018 In April, a state investigation in Michigan found that Nassar twisted the power and privacy of his job for abuse. NBC News, "College abuse scandals put sports doctors under new scrutiny," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To many, the twists and turns across markets reflect the increasingly cloudy outlook facing investors. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Investors on Edge After Rocky Month for Markets," 30 Nov. 2018 The overall narrative arc will be familiar to fans of the original Twitter exchange, but there are enough surprising twists and turns to keep the audience entertained right to the end. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Twitter-inspired You Might Be the Killer is coming to Syfy this weekend," 4 Oct. 2018 And since each snowflake or crystal faces a turbulent path through the atmosphere, each turn and twist changes its appearance ever so slightly. Discover Magazine, "The Great Snow of Beaver Creek," 3 Oct. 2018 Bodyguard offers plenty of twists and turns—the plot devices expected of any hit show in the era of Peak TV. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Hit U.K. Show Bodyguard Is Now on Netflix," 26 Oct. 2018 Grey's fans have already dealt with plenty of twists and turns in season 15 — like Teddy's pregnancy and Meredith's new love interest. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Grey’s Anatomy' Fans Will Not Be Able to Handle What Kim Raver Just Spilled About Teddy," 25 Oct. 2018 The third season of Riverdale may have just started, but it's already been filled with unexpected twists and turns. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Here's Your First Look at Michael Consuelos as Young Hiram Lodge in the Upcoming "Riverdale" Throwback Episode," 21 Oct. 2018 This place was like a magical wonderland, full of floral twists and turns. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "Where to Stay, Eat, and Drink in Washington Depot, Connecticut," 12 Oct. 2018 Their history has surprising twists and turns, like anti-fraternity laws that nearly pushed Greek life off campus. Phil Edwards, Vox, "Why colleges tolerate fraternities," 24 Sep. 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

5 Dec 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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to enclose within walls

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