wrung ˈrəŋ How to pronounce wring (audio) ; wringing ˈriŋ-iŋ How to pronounce wring (audio)

transitive verb

: to squeeze or twist especially so as to make dry or to extract moisture or liquid
wring a towel dry
: to extract or obtain by or as if by twisting and compressing
wring water from a towel
wring a confession from the suspect
: to twist so as to strain or sprain into a distorted shape
I could wring your neck
: to twist together (clasped hands) as a sign of anguish
: to affect painfully as if by wringing : torment
a tragedy that wrings the heart
wring noun

Examples of wring in a Sentence

I wrung the towel and hung it up to dry. I wrung my hair and wrapped it in a towel.
Recent Examples on the Web The fast-food industry has been wringing its hands over the devastating impact on its business from California’s new minimum wage law for its workers. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 Washington would, rather, wield its unmatched power to wring greater benefits out of key relationships. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 27 May 2024 While the astronauts are confident in Starliner's safety, this mission's purpose is to wring out any problems before Boeing and NASA declare the spacecraft ready for operational service. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 26 Mar. 2024 When the two finally have their hospital room confrontation, Rabe and Lange wring every sorry, angry truth from the scene. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for wring 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wring.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English wringan; akin to Old High German ringan to struggle, Lithuanian rengtis to bend down, Old English wyrgan to strangle — more at worry

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of wring was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near wring

Cite this Entry

“Wring.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wring. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


wrung ˈrəŋ How to pronounce wring (audio) ; wringing ˈriŋ-iŋ How to pronounce wring (audio)
: to squeeze or twist especially so as to make dry or to rid of moisture or liquid
wring wet clothes
: to get by or as if by twisting or pressing
wring the truth out of them
: to twist into an unnatural shape or appearance with a forcible or violent motion
wring a chicken's neck
: to cause pain to as if by wringing : torment
their troubles wrung our hearts

More from Merriam-Webster on wring

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