\ 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 metal cuts through the dough a lot easier without having to twist and turn the cutter, which ruins the shape of the cookie. NBC News, "Best cookie cutters and where to buy them, according to experts," 15 June 2020 Set the oven down, then lift the lid by itself and twist it one-third of a turn. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Timeless Camping Skills," 5 June 2020 Using the Liquify tool to also twist and distort the features will remove some of the topographical facial markers recognition software uses to identify an individual. Popular Science, "You should blur the faces in your protest photos. Here’s how.," 5 June 2020 Hickenlooper has denied any wrongdoing and claimed the Public Trust Institute was politically motivated and working to twist the state's gifting laws. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "John Hickenlooper faces subpoena to testify about private jet flights," 1 June 2020 His eyes were painfully green as the grief twisted his face and the trees near the road gave off a sugary odor and tenderness formed in the quiet. David Means, The New Yorker, "Two Nurses, Smoking," 25 May 2020 Furthermore, twisting stimulates blood circulation and helps release tension in the abdominal area. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "This 5-minute yoga routine will boost your energy and start the day right," 22 May 2020 The mercy-killing of Finn With Finn Collins' (Thomas McDonell) death, The 100 took its storytelling to a whole new level of twisted. Alamin Yohannes,, "The 12 most twisted moments of The 100 (so far)," 20 May 2020 Alcindor, Collins, and Jiang have continued to tweet about the incident, making sure that no one can twist what happened. Elly Belle, Refinery29, "Women Reporters Unite With Weijia Jiang Against Trump’s Racist & Sexist Media Attacks," 12 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the story has a major twist, a Twilight Zone–esque shift that drastically challenges the viewer’s perspective. David Sims, The Atlantic, "‘Our Problem-Solving Mechanism Has Broken Down’," 24 June 2020 There’s definitely a negative stigma associated with natural hairstyles like locks and braids, twist, and afros. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "Made for the moment: Wendy Greene, daughter of anti-discrimination pioneers, to present Angela Davis with Shuttlesworth award," 19 June 2020 The brunch menu offers the classics with a twist—eggs benedict, a variety of pancakes and french toast and waffles—as well as new American dishes including avocado toast and breakfast flatbreads. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Frisco brunch favorite Bonnie Ruth’s reopens as J. Theodore, a bistro with 100 different martinis," 18 June 2020 These future candies will hopefully hit the same tender notes that Riegel once simmered up with a modern-day, diet-inclusive twist. Purbita Saha, Popular Science, "The intense flavor science behind Haribo’s gummies," 17 June 2020 And in a bizarre twist, Ford announced this week that the Bronco is making its comeback after being off the assembly line for 24 years. Allison Morrow, CNN, "Zoom is worth more than Uber and Cameo is thriving: This is 2020," 16 June 2020 In a surprise twist for Season 4, dancers will walk onto the floor to realize that the Qualifiers have already started. oregonlive, "World of Dance: Season 4, Episode 4 time, TV channel, how to watch free live stream online (6/16/2020)," 16 June 2020 In a head spinning twist, Lawrence drops a bombshell on Issa that his ex-girlfriend Condola is pregnant and chose to keep the baby with or without his involvement. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "'Insecure' Season 4 Finale Proved Black Women's Friendships Are Irreplaceable," 15 June 2020 In a maddening twist, there's zero post-date scroll informing us of the new couple's current status. Ruth Kinane,, "Here's what you need to know about Netflix's Dating Around ahead of season 2," 11 June 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

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Twist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 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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