\ 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 wrenchingly (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 Image For families that love to gather, grieving at a distance has been wrenching. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "Eight U.K. Doctors Died From Coronavirus. All Were Immigrants.," 8 Apr. 2020 However, wrenching personal stories and videos of homophobic violence reveal how gay men, lesbians and transgender people are considered a disgrace to the nation and a stain on families that can only be washed away with the blood of honor killings. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Welcome to Chechnya': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 26 Jan. 2020 This month, on Komen’s Real Pink podcast, the organization is recognizing patients living with MBC, telling their heart-wrenching stories, along with their impactful research efforts that provide newer, more effective treatments for MBC. Dallas News, "How Susan G. Komen fights metastatic breast cancer," 16 Oct. 2019 All the material is grounded and gut-wrenched, heightened and stylized, but connected to something real. Los Angeles Times, "‘Desperate Housewives’ gossip created ‘problems’ on set, but creator Marc Cherry says he’s better for it," 14 Aug. 2019 The nurses who celebrate with their patients While their jobs require heart-wrenching work, watching a patient recover brings them joy. Christina Oehler, Health.com, "National Nurses Week Draws to a Close With Some Incredibly Powerful Photos," 14 May 2020 The heart-wrenching effort to identify the babies at the maternity clinic and reunite them with their families began in the immediate hours after the attack, before the special forces had even left the scene. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "Born Into Carnage, 18 Afghan Babies Face an Uncertain Fate," 13 May 2020 Roland, in heart-wrenching detail, described how the management of the Queens Adult Care Center repeatedly assured her that her 82-year-old father, Willie Roland, was safe, even as the virus swept through the facility. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, "The State Attorney General Is Scrutinizing This Assisted Living Facility Over Its Handling of COVID-19. Some Residents Are Suing It, Too.," 8 May 2020 But a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss in 13 innings tied the series, and a 5-2 loss in Game 5 put the Brewers on the brink of elimination. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Brewers beat the Cubs in Game 163 to win division," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Restrictions on large gatherings and social distancing requirements have thrown a wrench in many long-standing Fourth of July celebrations. Duard Headley, The Enquirer, "Fourth of July 2020 will look a lot different, might just sound the same," 29 June 2020 The third season also throws a new wrench into the extremely complicated works: the existence of other worlds. Ashley Chervinski, refinery29.com, "The Confounding Series Finale Of Dark, Untangled," 28 June 2020 The entertainment giant was on course to reopen its U.S.-based parks next month, but rising cases of Covid-19 across the country have thrown a wrench in those plans. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Disney’s Parks Need a Cure," 26 June 2020 The coronavirus, of course, throws a rather large monkey-wrench into the timing of this super-cycle. Adam Seessel, Fortune, "Valuation: How a 1990s crisis poised this aerospace stock for a great run in the 2020s," 25 June 2020 This might ground a large percentage of the annual pilgrimage, potentially throwing another wrench into the Coachella Valley's important tourism industry. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "In CA: A surge in COVID-19 cases is breaking records, and wildfires heat up," 24 June 2020 But beyond the analogy, literal thunderstorms are forecasted to strike during the president's remarks, throwing a wrench into campaign plans to host a day-long outside festival in the run up to Mr. Trump's arrival. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Brad Parscale didn't vote for Trump in 2016," 19 June 2020 But the Colts coach is not worried about the rookie’s fumbling tendencies, perhaps the only thing other than injury that could throw a wrench into the Indianapolis plans to deploy Taylor in a 1-2 punch along with Marlon Mack. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Colts rookie Jonathan Taylor has found perfect coach to fix fumbling issues in Tom Rathman," 17 June 2020 That’s a wrench thrown into today’s rankings, which cover numbers 51-55. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Is Joe Schobert the best to wear 53? Ranking the best Browns to wear each jersey number: 51-55," 15 June 2020

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

Last Updated

8 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wrench.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrench. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for wrench


How to pronounce wrench (audio)

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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