\ 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 twist (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 Grab the tail with one hand, the top with the other, then twist and pull at the same time. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "3 great restaurants for live crawfish in San Antonio and New Braunfels: Fish City Grill, LA Crawfish and Comal Crawfish Co.," 18 Feb. 2021 Its accessory chucks attach quickly and firmly—just twist them on. The Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Gear of the Year: The Best Products We Tested in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 The dry-hopped Crispy by Nature, a German pilsner, provided a dry, and yes, crisp, twist on the typical pilsner. Kelly Dearmore, Dallas News, "New False Idol Brewing in North Richland Hills offers wide range of IPAs, stouts, sours and ‘beertails’," 29 Jan. 2021 Once the wick has burned for a while and is long, twist another candle through the flame. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "You Can Use the Smoke From a Flame to Give White Taper Candles a Marble Effect," 13 Jan. 2021 Then, twist the end of the bag closed and squeeze to dispense the icing. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Ring in 2021 with a European flair," 29 Dec. 2020 To use it, simply twist the pen at the bottom to dispense the specialized cleansing solution through its brush. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "This jewelry cleaner is the perfect stocking stuffer—and it's on sale for less than $10," 17 Dec. 2020 Gently twist the florists wire to secure each bundle and set aside. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Make a Farmhouse Dried Orange Wreath," 18 Nov. 2020 Use the same drill bit to bore a pilot hole into the top of the snowman’s head, then twist in a small screw eye. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Don't Toss That X-Mas Tree: Let's Make Something Instead," 26 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Crowler Nation does sell resealable cans with a twist-on lid, but those are rare in Minnesota. Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, "Crowlers became Minnesota breweries' untapped resource during pandemic," 3 Feb. 2021 Tahini, sesame paste and avocado add creaminess — a healthy twist, a guaca-hummus of sorts, that feels indulgent without the richness of dairy. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, "Caramelized onions and winter greens combine in a dairy-free dip that feels indulgent," 21 Jan. 2021 Alongside, a modern twist: lobster Wellington, priced at £75, or around $100. Jem Bartholomew, WSJ, "Champagne Delivery by Rolls-Royce? Posh Restaurants Break Out the Takeout Menu," 14 Jan. 2021 Now, here’s an even more interesting twist on inflation hedging via home ownership. Michael Taylor,, "Taylor: DIY hedges against inflation," 13 Jan. 2021 To show off how far its robots' skills have come, Boston Dynamics on Tuesday had its robots doing the twist, the mashed potato, and some seriously complicated dance moves that were one part impressive and one part eerie. David Goldman, CNN, "Watch Boston Dynamics robots dance to 'Do you love me'," 30 Dec. 2020 The memorable cover was a self-portrait by Dallas singer, composer and designer Teddy Georgia Waggy, who had crafted her own face mask with a defiant, humorous twist. Christopher Wynn, Dallas News, "There year that was — and wasn’t — in Dallas arts and culture," 27 Dec. 2020 The twist: The block of text is typed out in six rainbow colors – red through indigo – shifting hue with topics. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Good morning, sweet girl’: A day in the life of an online teacher," 21 Dec. 2020 It’s a multi-hyphenate garment that echoes the long standing cult-following of Patagonia’s classic fleece, but wins over with an elevated, luxurious twist. Julie Tong, Vogue, "In Search of the Perfect Half-Zip Pullover Sweater," 13 Dec. 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

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Twist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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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