un·​clench ˌən-ˈklench How to pronounce unclench (audio)
unclenched; unclenching; unclenches

transitive verb

: to open from a clenched position
: to release from a grip

intransitive verb

: to become unclasped or relaxed

Examples of unclench in a Sentence

He unclenched his jaw and took deep breaths. I could feel my jaw unclenching as the pain subsided.
Recent Examples on the Web But first: Close your eyes, take a deep breath, unclench your jaw and roll your shoulders. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 15 Aug. 2023 CEOs could finally unclench, at least a little. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 27 Apr. 2022 For those who are vaccinated, relatively healthy, financially stable and with access to decent health care, there’s reason to unclench your jaw. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2022 Her storyline brought all our favorites together in the ambulance bay, working as a team to figure out how to unclench Gigi's jaw from her owner's arm. Lincee Ray, EW.com, 25 Mar. 2022 The family eventually settled in an area where children were regularly attacked by a local pit bull and people would come running with flaming torches, because fire was one of the few things that would make the dog unclench its jaws. Akhil Sharma, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2022 Corinne watches the anchor clench and unclench her left hand, her nails perfectly manicured and pink. Rebecca Makkai, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 Time to unclench your brain and open your mind to the creative possibilities that constructors come up with. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2020 My relief creeped in slowly and my shoulders unclenched. Hannah Howard, Longreads, 1 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unclench.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1647, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unclench was in 1647

Dictionary Entries Near unclench

Cite this Entry

“Unclench.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unclench. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​clench ˌən-ˈklench How to pronounce unclench (audio)
: to open from a clenched position : relax
unclenched my hands

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