- 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 wrenching
Dern, then, is responsible for carrying the emotional weight of some of the most wrenching scenes in the pair of tearjerkers.Crying With Laura Dern: The Star on Her Oscar-Worthy ‘Wild’ Turn
December 3, 2014
It is deeply moving, so much so that you have to be pretty heartless not to be touched by this wrenching account.Wendy Davis and the 'Good Abortion' Myth
September 10, 2014
The added tragedy of losing a son had been hard enough to bear without the wrenching revelations of recent days.The Army Lied About the Hero Who Died Looking for Bowe Bergdahl
June 4, 2014
Through its wrenching, eventually exhausting series of betrayals, Game of Thrones asks, “Is treachery unavoidable?”Daenerys Goes to Washington: The Modern Politics of ‘Game of Thrones’
April 8, 2014
That had now ended with a flag covered coffin, a reality too wrenching to accept immediately.The Teen Love Letters that Led to a Tragic Murder-Suicide in Florida
March 30, 2014
And when the wrenching at his forearms ceased he instantly relaxed his grip.Way of the Lawless
"I'm going to her," shouted Dick wildly, wrenching himself free.Viviette
William J. Locke
"I'm a Canadian," said the professor, wrenching his wrist away.In the Midst of Alarms
And if we are not, it is likely to give the soul such a wrenching as to deform it forever.The Book of Khalid
“Stop,” he said peremptorily, raising himself with a wrenching effort.Nan of Music Mountain
Frank H. Spearman
- 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 wrenching
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.