\ 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

Following the gut-wrenching conclusion of season 3, tons of fans are blaming her for Hopper's and Billy's deaths. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Fans Think That Hopper Would Still Be Alive if Suzie Hadn't Made Dustin Sing "NeverEnding Story" in "Stranger Things"," 6 Aug. 2019 Captured in a gut-wrenching video, the scene unfolded Monday in China's Chongqing Municipality, the state media outlet reported. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Heart-racing video shows toddler plummet 6 stories, bystanders catch him with blanket," 31 July 2019 The baseball was not in his glove, instead a souvenir for someone in this gut-wrenching 5-3 Astros loss. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros drop series opener to Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals," 26 July 2019 There is a fascinating, gut-wrenching story to be told about a young woman’s inner conflict between the societal pressure to curb her darker emotions, and the precarious freedom that comes with surrendering to them fully. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Dark Phoenix Isn’t Quite As Bad As The Game of Thrones Finale, But It’s Close," 7 June 2019 President going through the heart wrenching videos that the world saw of men, women, children and infants victims of these vicious and horrible and terrible weapons. Fox News, "Gorka on Syria strike: US is duty-bound to respond to Assad," 13 Apr. 2018 Middle schoolers chased rebounds on an outdoor basketball court as two young men sat wrenching on a four-wheeler, fanning mosquitoes. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "The Village Where Every Cop Has Been Convicted of Domestic Violence," 18 July 2019 Eaton provides us with a perfect example of how to smear someone by wrenching words out of context. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Where’s the Outrage at the Smear of Roger Scruton?," 17 July 2019 He was irked by the last Broadway revival in 2012, in which the creators played up wrenching economic stress, layered on thick New York accents and didn't have the dog Sandy arrive as the final Christmas present. Mark Kennedy, azcentral, "Martin Charnin, the man who brought 'Annie' to life on Broadway, dies," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

However, in the last two decades, factors including climate change have thrown a wrench in tea production. Gurvinder Singh, Quartz India, "Science is rekindling the aroma that Darjeeling tea lost to climate change," 9 Aug. 2019 And if that wasn’t enough of a wrench to throw into your weekend, TriMet will start a track improvement project that will slow down MAX commutes beginning Sunday, Aug. 4. oregonlive.com, "Portland metro Thursday traffic: ODOT closes I-205 northbound for weekend paving beginning Friday night," 1 Aug. 2019 The unfortunate dispute with our financial partner and the resulting legal proceedings set us off course at a critical juncture, throwing a wrench in our plans and forcing us to find an alternate venue to Watkins Glen. Brianne Tracy, PEOPLE.com, "Woodstock 50 Officially Canceled as Concert Co-Founder Blames 'Unforeseen Setbacks'," 31 July 2019 So there is a set of wrenches from the U-505 alongside matches and cigarettes found on board the boat, plus an English-German dictionary. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "U-505 submarine gets a makeover and new exhibit for 75th anniversary at MSI," 3 June 2019 For some, this throws a wrench into the idea that trypophobia is a phobia at all. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "Is Trypophobia Really a Fear of Holes or Something Else Entirely?," 26 July 2019 Could there be a surprise team or two that would choose to throw a wrench into things for either Boston or Phoenix, two teams that appear to be setting the stage for a potential big move? Mitchell Gladstone, SI.com, "D'Angelo Russell, Malcolm Brogdon and a Loaded Restricted Free Agency Class," 29 June 2019 The two men stole a screwdriver set; a wrench and socket set; two metal dollies; three body hammers; four sets of pliers; a jack; and a tool bag during the June 4 incident, according to police reports. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "Duo attacked friends looking for work in Cleveland, stole $2,300 in tools from SUV, records say," 18 June 2019 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

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

18 Aug 2019

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)

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

What made you want to look up wrench? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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