\ 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


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 move, criticized by officials from both counties and the governor, is the latest in a flurry of actions Yost took in recent weeks to wrest control over potential settlements or judgments away from city and county governments in Ohio. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Ohio AG Dave Yost again seeks control of opioid litigation, asks appeals court to halt first federal trial," 30 Aug. 2019 His ordeal ended only when medics wrested him away on a stretcher. Washington Post, "Hong Kong’s evolving protests: Voices from the front lines," 23 Aug. 2019 Maduro, who has accused the opposition of trying to steal Citgo, sought to use the court system in Delaware, where Citgo is incorporated, to wrest control away from Guaido. Marissa Luck, Houston Chronicle, "U.S. court confirms Citgo board appointed by Venezuela's opposition," 22 Aug. 2019 Turns out Barry might have had a chance of wresting No. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Kevin Durant changes uniform number post-Warriors; he’s not the first one," 8 July 2019 During the chaotic scene, captured on video viewed millions of times, the counterprotesters wrested a hammer away from someone inside the bus who appeared to swing it at them from the open door. oregonlive, "Key protest witness nowhere near bus during Portland hammer attack, lawyer says," 12 Sep. 2019 And then, some days, that precious hour is wrested away by that , the business lunch. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How Choosing the Right Time to Eat Lunch Can Shape Your Whole Day," 10 Sep. 2019 The coalition, which includes Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group, had sought to wrest control of PG&E’s bankruptcy by presenting its own reorganization plan. Los Angeles Times, "PG&E’s $11-billion settlement with insurers sets up a clash with fire victims," 13 Sep. 2019 But first up, opposition lawmakers will need to wrest control of the day's agenda, calling for an emergency debate -- also known as a Standing Order 24 or SO24. Sheena Mckenzie, CNN, "Britain's crazy Brexit crisis is about to get crazier," 3 Sep. 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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Statistics for wrest

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wrest

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

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More Definitions for wrest



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wrest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wrest

Spanish Central: Translation of wrest

Nglish: Translation of wrest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wrest for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wrest

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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