twist

1 of 2

verb

twisted; twisting; twists

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
2
a
: to turn or change shape under torsion
b
: to assume a spiral shape
c
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

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: a turning off a straight course
c
: a distortion of meaning or sense
3
a
: an unexpected turn or development
weird twists of fate W. L. Shirer
b
: a clever device : trick
questions demanding special twists of thinking New 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
twisty adjective
Phrases
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

Keep scrolling for more

Example Sentences

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
At the bottom of the squat, twist right to left, allowing your gaze to follow. Jen Murphy, WSJ, 17 Sep. 2022 To try and twist my words to have an excuse to take digs at my child is disgusting. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 9 Sep. 2022 Designers at the top of their artistic powers then use scoring to twist this knife in interesting or unexpected ways that lead players to develop and discover emergent strategies. Andy Robertson, Forbes, 1 July 2022 Never mind that a 15-year-old girl has been left to twist in the wind, being at the center of an international dumpster fire doing God knows what to her psyche. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 18 Feb. 2022 The most talented horse isn’t always best at the crucial moment, and narratives twist back on themselves in the most unexpected ways. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, 5 Sep. 2020 Democrats decried the move as an unprecedented delay meant to twist the arm of holdouts. Kim Bellware, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2022 Chanel frontwoman Kristen Stewart, for example, always manages to twist the label's preppy Parisian persona into something more edgy. Leah Dolan, CNN, 27 May 2022 As story lines twist and converge, the cartel game levels up. Dan Snierson, EW.com, 18 Apr. 2022
Noun
Fountain pen style means a modern storyline or references, with a poetic twist. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 21 Sep. 2022 Nensi Dojaka has figured it out by boosting her famous twist-and-cup bra tops with paper-thin evening slips and lurex metallic bodysuits, along with a pair of truly excellent wide-legged jeans. Faran Krentcil, ELLE, 21 Sep. 2022 Fountain pen style means a modern storyline or references, with a poetic twist. Abid Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Sep. 2022 Fountain pen style means a modern storyline or references, with a poetic twist. Jason Newman, Rolling Stone, 20 Sep. 2022 The teaser also showed Shanae Ankney crying about juggling two men, a shocking twist that results in a group of women leaving the beach, and mention of Paradise's first threesome. Dana Rose Falcone, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2022 Fountain pen style means a modern storyline or references, with a poetic twist. Chris Willman, Variety, 20 Sep. 2022 Mix the classic cheddar topper with fresh oregano for a new twist. Sheena Chihak, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2022 Put a Mediterranean twist on your holiday meal with avocado hummus, apple and walnut salad, cardamom and cinnamon kugel, and grilled chicken kebab offered for $59 per person for pickup or delivery from 2-7 p.m. Sept. 25-26. Samantha Nelson, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 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.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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-

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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

Dictionary Entries Near twist

Cite this Entry

“Twist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twist. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Kids Definition

twist 1 of 2

verb

twisted; twisting
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
5
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.

twist

2 of 2

noun

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

Last Updated: 4 Oct 2022

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ