\ˈrench \
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



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 \ adverb

Synonyms for wrench

Synonyms: Verb

twist, wrest, wring

Synonyms: Noun

twist, twisting, wrenching, wresting, wringing

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Examples of wrench in a Sentence


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.


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 inspiration is obviously the gut-wrenching opening of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, but Avery amps up the story with the sensibilities of a modern video game. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Overlord is a gloriously entertaining piece of B-movie schlock," 9 Nov. 2018 All in all, the coaster has a total length of 3,118 feet and lasts just 59 gut-wrenching seconds. Julia Fawal, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Never Knew About Roller Coasters," 24 July 2015 The capsule passengers' orientation will shift: Imagine tipping over your chair, and that brief but gut-wrenching free-fall. Michael Belfiore, Popular Mechanics, "Say Hello to Stratolaunch, the World's Largest Plane," 17 Apr. 2012 The family dramedy is not all heart-wrenching fights and impossible issues. Katie Walsh, The Seattle Times, "‘Instant Family’: a heartwarming and hilarious adoption tale with Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne," 14 Nov. 2018 Each of the siblings uses the knowledge differently, to profound and often heart-wrenching effects. Marie Claire, "These Are the Best Books of 2018, According to Our Editors," 15 Oct. 2018 New technology will allow people to hear his heart-wrenching experience firsthand for decades, maybe even centuries – via an interactive hologram. Michelle Chavez, Fox News, "Future generations can speak to Holocaust survivors – via hologram technology," 25 July 2018 Because Iris had little opportunity to make a life for herself and her son in Honduras, said Mancia, her daughter had to make a heart-wrenching decision. NBC News, "Here's how hard it is to find a migrant kid who has been separated from his mom," 25 June 2018 For many, the end of TPS represents making a gut-wrenching life-or-death decision. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "Another separation crisis looms – this time for some 273,000 American children," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tariffs throw a wrench into pricing calculations and eat into profit margins. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "‘We Are at the Limit’: Trump’s Tariffs Turn Small Businesses Upside Down," 8 Aug. 2018 Slow your roll on the Hailey X Shawn ship because something is here to seriously throw a wrench into this cute AF alleged couple theory. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "Shawn Mendes and Hailey Baldwin's Relationship Timeline," 27 July 2018 Then use an adjustable wrench to loosen and unscrew the old showerhead. Daniel Bortz, sacbee, "Four home-improvement jobs you can knock out," 15 June 2018 For Older faucets: use wrench to undo retaining nuts, remove headgear, and reveal old washer. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How to Fix a Clogged Sink and Leaky Faucet," 11 Feb. 2015 Meanwhile, an underground collective of art terrorists monkey-wrenches billboards and other mediums of the Man, and the lumpen-telemarketers left behind by Cash rally to unionize. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "Why we should be thankful for ‘Sorry to Bother You’," 11 July 2018 One day, the guy working the gas pipes under a house stuck his head out and asked me for a specific wrench. Marc Myers, WSJ, "Charley Pride on His Mother’s Words That Led to Country Stardom," 12 June 2018 Two years ago, the draft-day wrench was left tackle Laremy Tunsil unexpectedly dropping to Miami after a video surfaced that showed Tunsil smoking from a bong. Chris Perkins, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Dolphins seem likely to select linebacker, defensive tackle and tight end in NFL draft," 22 Apr. 2018 Alabama had a wrench thrown into its quarterback competition early in spring camp when Tua Tagovailoa broke his left index finger, which is his throwing hand. Tim Bielik, cleveland.com, "How Michigan's spring season ended with a closed scrimmage: Buckeye Breakfast," 16 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for wrench

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wrench

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

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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)

: 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

: something unpleasant that happens and that causes you to feel emotional pain


\ˈrench \
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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on wrench

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wrench

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wrench

Spanish Central: Translation of wrench

Nglish: Translation of wrench for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wrench for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wrench

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