\ 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 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 \ 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 news was gut-wrenching, not just to the Los Angeles Angels, but for all of Major League Baseball. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Shohei Ohtani’s elbow injury not only a blow to the Angels, but all of baseball," 8 June 2018 Her heart-wrenching post has over 37,000 shares and counting. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "One Mom's Facebook Post Begging Other Parents to Vaccinate Their Kids Is Going Viral," 27 June 2016 So, rest assured there’s plenty of heart-wrenching drama up ahead. Megan Stein, Country Living, "CBS Sparks Outrage Among 'NCIS' Fans After Temporarily Replacing the Show," 23 Jan. 2019 Jack agrees, which is bound to make next week's episode epically magical — that is, unless This Is Us writers choose to throw another heart-wrenching curveball into their budding romance. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Learned So Much About Season 3's Mystery Man Alan Last Night," 10 Oct. 2018 Many were total strangers who told me their heart-wrenching stories for the first time in their lives. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Read the full transcript of Sen. Collins’s speech announcing she’ll vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh," 5 Oct. 2018 Hopefully, Chucky will live to tell his grandchildren about his own heart-wrenching story. Taylor Jade Powell, Cincinnati.com, "3 headlines: Cincy's most expensive home, Chucky the groundhog and zoo animals keep cool," 3 July 2018 The Anteaters saw the Big West Conference's regular-season championship wrenched from their hands in a double-overtime loss to UC Davis on Saturday. Chris Foster, latimes.com, "When it comes to the Big West tournament, getting the top seed isn't always a good thing," 7 Mar. 2018 In Fatih Akin’s eloquent, wrenching In the Fade, Diane Kruger is Katya, another bereaved parent, who at first puts her faith in the courts. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Moral Complexity of Today's Film and TV Vigilantes," 1 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

International trade policies and fuel prices are wild cards that could throw a wrench in it all though—possibly driving up prices and driving down the number of flights. Kristen Leigh Painter, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Air Travel Will Change in 2019," 13 Dec. 2018 Philadelphia police are searching for a wrench-wielding, Batman-tee clad man that recently attacked a Wendy’s worker and threatened to break into the fast-food restaurant with the weapon. Fox News, "Philadelphia Wendy’s drive-thru worker attacked by wrench-wielding man in Batman shirt," 29 Aug. 2018 Getty Images Because the internet is about as tactful and gentle as a sack full of metal wrenches, Jenna Dewan and Jessie J have been facing constant comparison of late. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Jenna Dewan Sends Jessie J "Nothing But Respect" After Post About Comparisons in the Media," 19 Nov. 2018 But neither side could say how big of a wrench Monday’s SJC decision could throw into their talks. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Voters won’t be able to weigh in on the millionaires tax. How about the Legislature?," 19 June 2018 Ronald Reagan wins the 1984 presidential election, which, okay, throws a bit of a wrench into our own dreams of Diana 4 Prez, but could certainly introduce the conservative foreign policy that contextualizes the era's nuclear arms race. refinery29.com, "Wonder Woman 2 Will Be Set In 1984 — The Year Everything Happened," 2 June 2018 He and Yates were awarded first prize — a sculpture made of old wrenches and other tools. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Dan Gurney, champion driver who won races on roads, tracks & highways, dies at 86," 24 Jan. 2018 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

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

17 Feb 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 \
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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