1 of 2


: any of various machines or instruments for hauling or pulling
especially : a powerful machine with one or more drums on which to coil a rope, cable, or chain for hauling or hoisting : windlass
: a crank with a handle for giving motion to a machine (such as a grindstone)

Illustration of winch

Illustration of winch
  • winch 1


2 of 2


winched; winching; winches

transitive verb

: to hoist or haul with or as if with a winch
wincher noun

Examples of winch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
More advanced 4×4 enthusiasts can also sharpen winch skills and their acumen with safety procedures, trail navigation, and rock crawling. Michael Van Runkle, Robb Report, 3 Apr. 2024 The 2336-piece set is highly customizable, coming with numerous add-ons that make the Defender even more off-road ready, like traction boards and a working winch. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 20 Mar. 2023 View Photos The '24 Colorado ZR2 Bison still gets exclusive AEV add-ons such as wider fender flares, a full-width steel front bumper with a winch accommodation, and a rear bumper with steel corner plates. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 1 June 2023 An engineer company with cranes and winches and more than a hundred people can deploy an LSB in a few hours. David Axe, Forbes, 3 May 2023 Further options include an engine-bay snorkel, a front bull bar, a winch, and the addition of rear jump seats. Michael Van Runkle, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 The kiosk then uses a winch to hoist the character onto a platform, where electromagnets help stabilize its feet. IEEE Spectrum, 11 Feb. 2024 Unlike the standard Bronco, the Ranger Raptor is not available with a bumper that supports a winch. Carlos Lago, Car and Driver, 11 May 2023 In independent testing, CBS News found that even a banquet chair could pass the only test required for the standard — putting a brace across a seat, attaching it to a winch and pulling. Kris Van Cleave, CBS News, 17 Jan. 2024
There are some existing solutions for precision aerial delivery that have been operating at scale with some success, typically by winching packages to the ground from a VTOL drone. IEEE Spectrum, 15 Mar. 2024 The Eric McAllister, the bigger of the two, is 98 feet (30 meters) long and equipped with a thick steel cable and winch that, when attached to even a large cargo ship, can potentially pull it away from trouble. Joshua Goodman and Richard Lardner, Quartz, 29 Mar. 2024 After the tether reaches its maximum length, the ground station winches the kite back in. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Jan. 2024 Each drone carried an AED in a basket that could be winched down from an altitude of 30 meters. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Dec. 2023 The builder and woodworker Mark Ellison (part of a construction team that also included Adam Marelli and Bob Chan) helped engineer the staircase and created a bespoke contraption for winching heavy canvases up its center. Alice Newell-Hanson, New York Times, 21 Sep. 2023 Hampered by the darkness, the army switched to a different tactic: Constructing a pulley system and winching out the remaining survivors by hand, one by one. Mushtaq Yusufzai, NBC News, 23 Aug. 2023 Advanced vehicles like the U.S. Navy’s CURV-21 can dive to 20,000 feet underwater and can use gripper arms to delicately thread straps and lifting lines to objects so they can be winched to the surface by cranes aboard a salvage ship. Globe Staff,, 22 June 2023 Footage on social media showed the child being winched to safety on a helicopter by a rope — the outline of his white shalwar kameez, traditional pants and long top, swinging against rows of towering green trees below. Salman Masood, New York Times, 22 Aug. 2023

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

Word History



Middle English winche roller, reel, from Old English wince; akin to Old English wincian to wink

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1529, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of winch was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near winch

Cite this Entry

“Winch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a machine that has a roller on which a rope, cable, or chain is wound for pulling or lifting

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