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[rench] /rɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
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
before 1050; Middle English wrenchen (v.), Old English wrencan to twist, turn; cognate with German renken
Related forms
wrencher, noun
wrenchingly, adverb
outwrench, verb (used with object)
unwrenched, adjective
Can be confused
ranch, wrench.
4. distort, twist, warp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wrenched
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their only oar was wrenched from the grasp of the fisherman, and the frail bark was thus left to the mercy of the waves.

  • He got it—held it for a second—then it was wrenched out of his hand.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • That certainty had pierced him, even as the first horrible convulsion seized her and wrenched her sideways off the bench.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • He wrenched at the door again, jamming down his helmet with one hand.

    The Aliens Murray Leinster
  • The great brute stood still in her tracks and, with lowered head, snapped and wrenched at the thing that bit into her very lungs.

    The Promise James B. Hendryx
  • She wrenched away from him and before he could stop her she had got to the door and slid it open.

    The Stars, My Brothers Edmond Hamilton
  • When these were wrenched from their grasp, their importance as wielders of wealth and influence ceased.

  • Then, laying aside the file, and grasping the bar, he wrenched it out of the solderings.

    The Free Lances Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for wrenched


to give (something) a sudden or violent twist or pull esp so as to remove (something) from that to which it is attached: to wrench a door off its hinges
(transitive) to twist suddenly so as to sprain (a limb): to wrench one's ankle
(transitive) to give pain to
(transitive) to twist from the original meaning or purpose
(intransitive) 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 jaws See also torque wrench
Word Origin
Old English wrencan; related to Old High German renken, Lithuanian rangyti to twist. See wrinkle1
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
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Word Origin and History for wrenched



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with wrenched


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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