\ 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 Graeme MacPherson from GoFastCampers introduced me to Hudson Hall, who used to wrench for racing driver Robby Gordon at the Dakar Rally. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Inside My Custom Toyota Land Cruiser Build," 15 Oct. 2020 In one case, a worker died; in another, an employee had to wrench his ankle away from a sudden sinkhole; and a third had to abandon his truck as a dark stain of oil mushroomed beneath it. ProPublica, "Oil Companies Are Profiting From Illegal Spills. And California Lets Them.," 18 Sep. 2020 Alex Avila seemed to wrench his sore back while catching a popup during Friday’s second game, and he was removed when the inning ended. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Rookie Brent Rooker has an adventurous first day with Twins," 4 Sep. 2020 Buildings run helter-skelter through space, arranged in multiple, off-kilter perspectives that wrench the rules of artistic geometry. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Born of Boom and Bust," 28 Aug. 2020 For the past two years, a lawmaker in Boise has sought to wrench Idaho’s panhandle away from Pacific time, while El Paso fought the State of Texas for decades to avoid being enveloped by Central time. Kyle Paoletta, New York Times, "Mountain Time Is the Best Time Zone in America," 18 Aug. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But one teensy area on everyone’s face can throw a wrench into the most flawless routine. Madge Maril, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Your Lips are Always Dry and Chapped," 24 Nov. 2020 The suit could throw a wrench into Maricopa County's plans to certify election results by Friday. Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic, "Judge to hear Arizona GOP's lawsuit requesting new hand count audit for Maricopa County," 19 Nov. 2020 DeChambeau walked over to his bag, removed a wrench and tightened the screws on the bottom of his driver. Doug Ferguson, courant.com, "DeChambeau and his Paul Bunyan power the talk of the Masters," 8 Nov. 2020 But its interesting to note how rivalry games can throw a wrench into what could be a perfect season. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "IU, Purdue and Notre Dame football are all undefeated — can they keep it up?," 12 Nov. 2020 Cardinal Gibbons threw a wrench in that plan with a win last week, but the Raiders are unlikely to be deterred. Adam Lichtenstein, sun-sentinel.com, "Cardinal Gibbons tops Broward football rankings following win over St. Thomas," 28 Oct. 2020 As many other restaurant owners have discovered, the novel coronavirus threw a wrench in the couple’s plans. Jeff Forward, Chron, "GenuWine Tasting Room to close from COVID challenges," 23 Oct. 2020 Just as her cancer diagnosis threw a wrench in her plans, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic landed another blow. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "Mandy Gonzalez Beat Breast Cancer While Performing in Broadway's 'Hamilton'," 19 Oct. 2020 But Pence's decision to align himself with Trump threw a wrench into his friendship with Flake. Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic, "Mike Pence has personal and professional ties to Arizona. Here are 5 things you may not know," 8 Oct. 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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wrench.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrench. Accessed 4 Dec. 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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