\ 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

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

But beneath the surface, John and Carolyn were dealing with a heart-wrenching crisis. Adrienne Gaffney, Town & Country, "The Last Days of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy," 9 July 2019 April 27, 201805:56 Those limitations have been a problem for couples like Jacob and Ashley Lyerla, who needed to use donor sperm and eggs to create viable embryos after three heart-wrenching rounds of IVF using their own genetic material failed. NBC News, "Abortion arguments at play in limiting veterans' IVF benefit," 8 July 2019 Read an exclusive excerpt from the heart-wrenching new book, out July 2, below. Andrea Dunlop, Marie Claire, "Read an Excerpt from Andrea Dunlop's New Novel About Munchausen By Proxy," 2 July 2019 Although recognized by her passengers for her infectious personality and signature shimmy pose, Pooser's mom says that behind her daughter's bright smile is a heart-wrenching health history. Ashley Vaughan, CNN, "This brave teen with Down syndrome is taking to the sky as a flight attendant despite a bleak prognosis," 25 June 2019 Her heart-wrenching turn on the high school stage alone should toss her into Emmy consideration next year. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Thinking Through Euphoria Season 1, Episode 2: "Stuntin' Like My Daddy"," 24 June 2019 Despite the loss, one of the most thrilling, heart-wrenching games of the past five years. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Pacific Ocean? It’s the NBA and all its offseason drama that remains undefeated," 17 June 2019 She was wrenched from a beloved nurse who raised her from birth after a sensational 1934 custody battle won by her aunt, the formidable art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Elaine Woo, latimes.com, "Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress, socialite and fashion entrepreneur, dies at 95," 17 June 2019 Day and night are in disarray, animals are freaking out, and corpses are wrenched back to life. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“The Dead Don’t Die” Does the Zombie Genre to Death," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The tariffs have thrown a giant wrench into Southern California logistics industries, rippling through a broad web of companies that handle shipping, trucking, railroads, warehousing, construction, manufacturing and farming. Samantha Masunaga, latimes.com, "In Trump’s trade war with China, L.A. ports are ground zero," 9 June 2019 Then, use an open-end wrench to loosen the packing nut that holds the valve stem to the valve itself. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Silence a Noisy Steam Radiator," 11 Dec. 2018 If Magic Leap demands substantial financial damages or an injunction on selling the headsets, that could throw a wrench in those plans. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Magic Leap sues Nreal for allegedly stealing AR glasses design," 18 June 2019 Nothing throws a wrench in your skincare routine quite like travel. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "We Finally Found the Best Face Wipe for Frequent Travelers," 5 June 2019 Trump’s tweet Friday throws a wrench in the efforts NASA has been undertaking to align the political, public and financial support needed to make a lunar landing possible. Chabeli Herrera, orlandosentinel.com, "Trump, who told NASA to go to the moon, now wants it to stop talking about going to the moon," 3 June 2019 Getty Images However, Harry's travel plans to appear at the launch of the Invictus Games next week are definitely throwing a wrench in all of our frenzied Baby Sussex predictions. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Why Prince Harry Is Traveling to the Netherlands Close to Meghan's Due Date," 1 May 2019 But Dana's presence is an unexpected wrench in the works. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland.com, "Yvonne Lake shares Christmas with a friend in need: A Greater Cleveland," 10 Jan. 2018 But just who are these players throwing a wrench into the first round? Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes in 'more discussions' at NHL draft than previous years," 20 June 2019

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

21 Jul 2019

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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)

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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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

Comments on wrench

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something desired as essential

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