- to ruin (plans, a schedule, etc.) unavoidably or, sometimes, deliberately: The storm monkey-wrenched our plans for a picnic.
- to prevent, delay, or sabotage industrialization or development of wilderness areas, especially through vandalism.
- Also called, especially British, adjustable spanner. a wrench having an adjustable jaw permitting it to grasp nuts or the like of different sizes.
- something that interferes with functioning; obstacle: He threw a monkey wrench into our plans.
Origin of monkey wrench
First recorded in 1855–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for monkey-wrench
David threw down the monkey-wrench, and put an arm about her waist.Tiverton Tales
Only minutes had gone by since the blows from the monkey-wrench.Raiders Invisible
Desmond Winter Hall
When I told her about the monkey-wrench and the lemon pie, she was just as much puzzled as I was.Just Patty
"I'll get a monkey-wrench, my friend; you rattle," Brent chuckled.Sunlight Patch
Credo Fitch Harris
He went below with a monkey-wrench, unscrewed the nut, and let the hook drop off.Tales of the Fish Patrol
- a wrench with adjustable jaws
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012