\ ˈrench How to pronounce wrench (audio) \
wrenched; wrenching; wrenches

Definition of wrench

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move with a violent twist also : to undergo twisting
2 : to pull or strain at something with violent twisting

transitive verb

1 : to twist violently
2 : to injure or disable by a violent twisting or straining wrenched her back
3 : change especially : distort, pervert
4a : to pull or tighten by violent twisting or with violence
b : to snatch forcibly : wrest
5 : to cause to suffer mental anguish : rack entry 2



Definition of wrench (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a violent twisting or a pull with or as if with twisting
b : a sharp twist or sudden jerk straining muscles or ligaments also : the resultant injury (as of a joint)
c : a distorting or perverting alteration
d : acute emotional distress : sudden violent mental change
2 : a hand or power tool for holding, twisting, or turning an object (such as a bolt or nut)

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Other Words from wrench


wrenchingly \ ˈren-​chiŋ-​lē How to pronounce wrench (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for wrench

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of wrench in a Sentence

Verb I tried to wrench free from his grip. I tried to wrench myself free from his grip. He wrenched his back when he tried to lift a heavy box. She wrenched the toy from his grasp. The statue was wrenched from its pedestal. Noun It was a wrench to say goodbye to all my friends. with a sharp wrench of the hammer I pulled the nail from the board
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The two red-state lawsuits filed against the American Rescue Plan don’t take issue with other parts of the law, no doubt to avoid provoking outcries that their suits would wrench billions of dollars from suffering people’s pockets. Simon Lazarus, The New Republic, 29 Mar. 2021 The salvage team’s next step is dredging beneath the vessel’s bow with high pressure water jets to wrench the ship from the clay, said Berdowski. Isabel Debre And Samy Magdy, chicagotribune.com, 29 Mar. 2021 Tiny against their quarry’s bulk, swarms of tugboats raced to try to wrench the Ever Given free, and a front-end loader strained to dig it out from the canal’s eastern embankment, where its bow sat wedged. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2021 Hospital maintenance workers attempted to use an aluminum crutch as a pry bar to wrench open the door. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, 3 Mar. 2021 Both actresses have enough charisma to wrench the film from Stiles and Thomas. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 13 Jan. 2021 But Burford’s infusion of money did not wrench the Luna from Mr. Akhmedov’s grip. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2021 Now, with one vaccine vaccine having gained U.S. clearance and the other close behind, the pandemic validation could wrench open a whole new field of medicine. Robert Langreth, Bloomberg.com, 13 Dec. 2020 Begin lowering the car until the tire just touches the ground, then tighten the lug nuts with your lug wrench some more. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 4 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Such a move throws a wrench in parents’ own unmasking celebrations. Nancy S. Jecker, The Conversation, 7 June 2021 That, of course, throws a wrench into the all-British fight between Anthony Joshua and Fury to become undisputed world heavyweight champion. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 21 May 2021 And as if travelers needed another wrench in their vacation plans, a massive rental car shortage is pushing daily rates into nosebleed territory or, worse, leaving some markets with no vehicles at all. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Forbes, 15 May 2021 Bishai warned that a ZIP code-sized outbreak in the fall could put a wrench in plans for in-person schooling, and getting vaccinated is the best thing adults can do to keep schools open in those pockets of the county. S. Wayne Carter Jr., baltimoresun.com, 30 Apr. 2021 Our new analysis throws another wrench in the teachers union narrative. Corey A. Deangelis And Christos A. Makridis, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2021 The Mustangs threw another wrench into Gray’s team early in the second half. cleveland, 2 Oct. 2020 While the pandemic has thrown a wrench into the cogs of society and the economy, all hope for business owners and startups in raising capital is not lost. Payson Johnston, Forbes, 1 June 2021 But the recent disconnect between the stock market and the broader economy amid the pandemic has thrown a wrench in that argument, raising questions about the rationale for how CEOs are paid. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, 27 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wrench.' 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 wrench


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


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for wrench


Middle English, from Old English wrencan; akin to Old High German renken to twist and perhaps to Latin vergere to bend, incline

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Time Traveler for wrench

Time Traveler

The first known use of wrench was before the 12th century

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Statistics for wrench

Cite this Entry

“Wrench.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrench. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for wrench



English Language Learners Definition of wrench

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to twist and pull with a sudden violent motion
: to injure (a part of your body) by making a violent twisting motion
: to take (something) by using force



English Language Learners Definition of wrench (Entry 2 of 2)

US : a tool consisting of a handle with one end designed to hold, twist, or turn an object (such as a bolt or nut)
: a violent twisting or pulling movement
chiefly British : something unpleasant that happens and that causes you to feel emotional pain


\ ˈrench How to pronounce wrench (audio) \
wrenched; wrenching

Kids Definition of wrench

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to pull or twist with sudden sharp force He wrenched a branch from the tree.
2 : to injure by a sudden sharp twisting or straining I wrenched my knee.



Kids Definition of wrench (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a tool used in turning nuts or bolts
2 : a violent twist to one side or out of shape
3 : an injury caused by twisting or straining : sprain
\ ˈrench How to pronounce wrench (audio) \

Medical Definition of wrench

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to injure or disable by a violent twisting or straining slipped and wrenched her back



Medical Definition of wrench (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sharp twist or sudden jerk straining muscles or ligaments also : the resultant injury (as of a joint)


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