Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

monkey-wrench

[muhng-kee-rench] /ˈmʌŋ kiˌrɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
1.
to ruin (plans, a schedule, etc.) unavoidably or, sometimes, deliberately:
The storm monkey-wrenched our plans for a picnic.
verb (used without object)
2.
to prevent, delay, or sabotage industrialization or development of wilderness areas, especially through vandalism.
Related forms
monkey-wrencher, noun

monkey wrench

noun
1.
Also called, especially British, adjustable spanner. a wrench having an adjustable jaw permitting it to grasp nuts or the like of different sizes.
2.
something that interferes with functioning; obstacle:
He threw a monkey wrench into our plans.
Origin of monkey wrench
1855-1860
First recorded in 1855-60
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for monkey-wrench
Historical Examples
  • David threw down the monkey-wrench, and put an arm about her waist.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • 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 Jean Webster
  • "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.

  • Words failing him, he fell to belaboring me with a hammer and monkey-wrench.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
  • And there should be an ironclad rule, never use a monkey-wrench for a hammer.

    Farm Mechanics Herbert A. Shearer
  • She put back into her overalls and wielded a monkey-wrench in the engine-room.

    The Cup of Fury Rupert Hughes
  • William came closer and lifting his hand, threw a monkey-wrench at Jan.

    Prince Jan, St. Bernard Forrestine C. Hooker
  • So the second day after my baby grand's arrival I went at it with a monkey-wrench.

    The Prairie Wife Arthur Stringer
British Dictionary definitions for monkey-wrench

monkey wrench

noun
1.
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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for monkey-wrench

monkey-wrench

modifier

Promoting preservation of the environment by sabotage

[1975+; fr Edward Abbey's novel The Monkey-Wrench Gang; ultimately fr throw a monkey wrench into the machinery]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for monkey-wrench

Word Value for monkey

15
16
Scrabble Words With Friends