[ tawrk ]
See synonyms for torque on
  1. Mechanics. something that produces or tends to produce torsion or rotation; the moment of a force or system of forces tending to cause rotation.

  2. Machinery. the measured ability of a rotating element, as of a gear or shaft, to overcome turning resistance.

  1. Optics. the rotational effect on plane-polarized light passing through certain liquids or crystals.

  2. Also torc . a collar, necklace, or similar ornament consisting of a twisted narrow band, usually of precious metal, worn especially by the ancient Gauls and Britons.

verb (used with object),torqued, torqu·ing.
  1. Machinery. to apply torque to (a nut, bolt, etc.).

  2. to cause to rotate or twist.

verb (used without object),torqued, torqu·ing.
  1. to rotate or twist.

Origin of torque

First recorded in 1825–35; from Latin torquēre “to twist”; def. 4 is from French torque, from Latin torques “collar” (the spelling torc is perhaps from Irish, ultimately from Latin ); see torques Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use torque in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for torque


/ (tɔːk) /

  1. Also: torc a necklace or armband made of twisted metal, worn esp by the ancient Britons and Gauls

  2. any force or system of forces that causes or tends to cause rotation

  1. the ability of a shaft to cause rotation

Origin of torque

C19: from Latin torquēs necklace, and torquēre to twist

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

Scientific definitions for torque


[ tôrk ]

  1. The tendency of a force applied to an object to make it rotate about an axis. For a force applied at a single point, the magnitude of the torque is equal to the magnitude of the force multiplied by the distance from its point of application to an axis of rotation. Torque is also a vector quantity, equal to the vector product of the vector pointing from the axis to the point of application of force and the vector of force; torque thus points upward from a counterclockwise rotation. See also angular momentum lever.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.