\ 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

Suddenly, there are brides and grooms galore, nearly all of them from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan — posing and twisting themselves together in embraces that at times almost defy imagination. Los Angeles Times, "Czech Republic sees a surge in visitors from China, including many prenuptial couples," 3 Sep. 2019 It got twisted into how this raft is somehow going to save the Great Barrier Reef. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, "Don’t Believe the Hype: The Pumice Raft Won’t Save the Great Barrier Reef," 30 Aug. 2019 Bring the corners of the cheesecloth up and tie or twist them together to make a handy yogurt sack, like something Cow Santa would tote. James P. Dewan,, "How to make labneh, the luscious Middle Eastern yogurty spread," 21 Aug. 2019 Flip your hair upside down to put the wider part of the towel around your head, twist it up, and pin it with the button and loop at the base. Jessica Kasparian, USA TODAY, "15 must-have beauty products that are finally on sale—this weekend only," 17 Aug. 2019 There the guest must sit, head twisted through 90 degrees, to see and hear a host whose opening remarks may stretch to an hour. The Economist, "Why Chinese officials like useless meetings in over-stuffed chairs," 1 Aug. 2019 The 62-year-old’s spine is twisted due to slow deterioration from multiple sclerosis. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "Chronic pain patient leads charge in favor of opioids, despite addiction fears," 25 Aug. 2019 Ideological legitimacy is added to these through pseudo-scientific studies into race and intelligence, as well as the use of official demographic data which is often twisted and misread. Jacob Davey, Time, "We Analyzed How the "Great Replacement" and Far Right Ideas Spread Online. The Trends Reveal Deep Concerns.," 18 July 2019 This comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me, a political weapon. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "Mississippi Senator Apologizes for ‘Public Hanging’ Remark," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Boynton's go-to makeup artist Jo Baker gave the trend a rainbow sherbert twist with pastel hues while the actress was in Venice, Italy, recently. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Watercolor Eye Makeup Is Trending Everywhere Right Now," 10 Sep. 2019 And here at Black Girl Magic headquarters aka ESSENCE, celebrating Fashion Week takes on a melanated twist. Danielle Young, Essence, "In Case You Missed It, ESSENCE Fashion House At NYFW Was Lit," 9 Sep. 2019 Finally, at Roger Bacon, the Spartans took a different twist. Scott Springer,, "Can your high school administrator haul in a football? One catch went viral," 9 Sep. 2019 By twist of fate, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks coincides with a much older yearly ritual: the migration of birds across New York City as fall approaches. Anne Barnard, New York Times, "The 9/11 Tribute Lights Are Endangering 160,000 Birds a Year," 9 Sep. 2019 Longtime Afghanistan watchers, including former U.S. officials, apparently didn’t see this twist coming. Jonathan Lemire, Twin Cities, "Trump calls off secret meeting with Taliban, Afghan leaders," 7 Sep. 2019 Barktoberfest Estabrook Beer Garden, 4610 Estabrook Parkway; 1 to 6 p.m. This is the eighth year for Barktoberfest at Estabrook Park, a modern man's best friend twist on the traditional Oktoberfest. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "6 Oktoberfest celebrations in Milwaukee to check out from now until, well, October," 5 Sep. 2019 In addition to the pre-game tributes, Adkins said that the Permian High School band has a special twist to the end of their performance. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Bound by 2 mass shootings, football rivals El Paso and Odessa unite on the field," 5 Sep. 2019 Allie Smith Makeup artist This New Yorker, who has already done photo shoots for brands like Glossier and Milk Makeup, gives makeup an edgy twist just quirky enough to make a statement without turning theatrical. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "25 People Changing the Beauty Industry," 3 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

12 Sep 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

Comments on twist

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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