\ ˈrest How to pronounce wrest (audio) \
wrested; wresting; wrests

Definition of wrest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pull, force, or move by violent wringing or twisting movements
2 : to gain with difficulty by or as if by force, violence, or determined labor



Definition of wrest (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action of wresting : wrench
2 archaic : a key or wrench used for turning pins in a stringed instrument (such as a piano)

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Examples of wrest in a Sentence

Verb He tried to wrest control of the company from his uncle. the boy wrested the book out of his sister's hands
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The question, as McNamee sees it, is how to wrest back control for the people behind the profiles. Brian Barth, The New Yorker, "Big Tech’s Big Defector," 25 Nov. 2019 Investigators had previously suggested that Williams had wrested the officer’s gun away as the pair struggled. Michael R. Sisak, Twin Cities, "For the 2nd time this year, NYPD gunfire kills 1 of its own," 30 Sep. 2019 Investigators had previously suggested that Williams had wrested the officer’s gun away as the pair struggled. Michael R. Sisak, San Diego Union-Tribune, "For the 2nd time this year, NYPD gunfire kills 1 of its own," 30 Sep. 2019 Francis hopes the modest proposal helps the city wrest control of the popular recreational lakes from the horde of riders who take over the waterways on summer weekends. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Belle Isle looks to clamp down on wild Jet Skis on Conway lakes," 6 Aug. 2019 The significance of the Republican victory in the Senate, which the party has dominated for the past four years, was magnified because Democrats wrested House control from the GOP. Alan Fram, The Seattle Times, "GOP keeps Senate control for 2 more years, triumph for Trump," 7 Nov. 2018 Investors were keeping an eye on the U.S. midterm elections to be held on Tuesday, with analysts expecting the dollar and U.S. assets to come under pressure if the Democrats wrest control of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party. David Hodari, WSJ, "Copper Weakens as Hopes for Trade Deal Fade," 5 Nov. 2018 In nearby Chester County, Democrats wrested control of the courthouse for the first time. BostonGlobe.com, "When impeachment isn’t all about party lines - The Boston Globe," 19 Dec. 2019 In 2018, Craig wrested the seat, from former U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican who has announced a challenge to U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Republican who wants to impeach? Angie Craig challenger Rick Olson says he would vote ‘Yes’," 16 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His arm was in front of his face, and his wrest deflected the blast and prevented him from ingesting a large amount. Andrew Theen, OregonLive.com, "Idaho boy's cyanide exposure forever links family, Eugene advocate over wildlife devices," 15 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wrest.' 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 wrest


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wrest


Middle English wrasten, wresten, from Old English wrǣstan; akin to Old Norse reista to bend and probably to Old English wrigian to turn — more at wry

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Time Traveler for wrest

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wrest

Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wrest.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrest. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for wrest


How to pronounce wrest (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wrest

: to pull (something) away from someone by using violent twisting movements
: to take (something) from someone with much effort


\ ˈrest How to pronounce wrest (audio) \
wrested; wresting

Kids Definition of wrest

1 : to pull away by twisting or wringing I had to wrest my shoe from the dog's mouth.
2 : to obtain only by great and steady effort “For this is the day we are to conquer His Majesty the Scarecrow, and wrest from him the throne.”— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz

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More from Merriam-Webster on wrest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wrest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wrest

Spanish Central: Translation of wrest

Nglish: Translation of wrest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wrest for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wrest

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experienced by way of someone else

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