- to twist suddenly and forcibly; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist: He wrenched the prisoner's wrist.
- to overstrain or injure (the ankle, knee, etc.) by a sudden, violent twist: When she fell, she wrenched her ankle.
- to affect distressingly as if by a wrench.
- to wrest, as from the right use or meaning: to wrench the facts out of context.
- to twist, turn, or move suddenly aside: He wrenched away.
- to give a wrench or twist at something.
- a wrenching movement; a sudden, violent twist: With a quick wrench, she freed herself.
- a painful, straining twist, as of the ankle or wrist.
- a sharp, distressing strain, as to the feelings.
- a twisting or distortion, as of meaning.
- a tool for gripping and turning or twisting the head of a bolt, a nut, a pipe, or the like, commonly consisting of a bar of metal with fixed or adjustable jaws.
Origin of wrench
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wrench
Hillary Clinton, he argues, throws a wrench into the system.The Most Annoying Myth in Politics
February 24, 2014
Now the government of President François Hollande is throwing a wrench into the American rush toward peace with Iran.Why France Is to Blame for Blocking the Iran Nuclear Agreement
November 10, 2013
Factories were hiring anyone who could breathe and turn a wrench.The Federal Government Should Hire the Long-Term Unemployed
March 8, 2013
Should we see David Lee (Zach Grenier) as the wrench in the works at Lockhart & Associates?‘The Good Wife’: Robert and Michelle King on Alicia, Kalinda, Renewal Prospects, and More
March 12, 2012
Even one minor glitch and the machine could wrench itself out of his control.Reno’s Reckless Air Tragedy
September 17, 2011
Oh, the wrench to the mother's heart at the thought of what she could foresee!Johnny Bear
E. T. Seton
S'pose that fellar should rise up, an' wrench off them bars!Meadow Grass
Abruptly she fell on her knees, caught his hand and kissed it before he could wrench it from her.Captain Blood
The wrench upon it had already pulled the bodkin from the wainscot.The Historical Nights Entertainment, Second Series
Then tighten the sealing nuts with the special Exide wrench.The Automobile Storage Battery
O. A. Witte
- to give (something) a sudden or violent twist or pull esp so as to remove (something) from that to which it is attachedto wrench a door off its hinges
- (tr) to twist suddenly so as to sprain (a limb)to wrench one's ankle
- (tr) to give pain to
- (tr) to twist from the original meaning or purpose
- (intr) to make a sudden twisting motion
- a forceful twist or pull
- an injury to a limb, caused by twisting
- sudden pain caused esp by parting
- a parting that is difficult or painful to make
- a distorting of the original meaning or purpose
- a spanner, esp one with adjustable jawsSee also torque wrench
Word Origin and History for wrench
Old English wrencan "to twist," from Proto-Germanic *wrankijanan (cf. Old High German renken, German renken "to twist, wrench," Old English wringan "to wring"), from PIE *wreng- "to turn" (cf. Sanskrit vrnakti "turns, twists," Lithuanian rengtis "to grow crooked, to writhe"), nasalized variant of *werg- "to turn" (cf. Latin vergere "to turn, tend toward"), from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Related: Wrenched, wrenching.
Old English wrenc "a twisting, artifice, trick;" see wrench (v.). The meaning "tool with jaws for turning" is first recorded 1794.