Origin of torques

1560–70; < Latin torquēs twisted necklace or collar, equivalent to torqu(ēre) to twist (akin to Greek trépein to turn) + -ēs feminine deverbative noun suffix


  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.
  3. Optics. the rotational effect on plane-polarized light passing through certain liquids or crystals.
  4. 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

1825–35; < Latin torquēre to twist; (def 4) < French torque < Latin torques torques (torc perhaps < Irish ≪ L) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for torques

revolution, force, twist, turn, necklace, collar, armband

Examples from the Web for torques

Historical Examples of torques

  • Slaying his enemy, he took from his neck a chain of gold (torques), which he afterwards wore upon his own.

  • The women wore splendid bronze ornaments, such as finger-rings, bracelets, torques and brooches.


    Victor Nilsson

  • The torques are mostly penannular and have enlarged terminals; the armlets are often complete rings.


    H. Clifford Smith,

  • With their torques of gold, and wild eyes, and hair cut round ears and brow 87, they stare on the scene.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • This torques, chain, or rather wreath, is frequently alluded to by the early British bards.

British Dictionary definitions for torques


  1. a distinctive band of hair, feathers, skin, or colour around the neck of an animal; a collar
Derived Formstorquate (ˈtɔːkwɪt, -kweɪt), adjective

Word Origin for torques

C17: from Latin: necklace, from torquēre to twist


  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
  3. the ability of a shaft to cause rotation

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for torques



"rotating force," 1884, from Latin torquere "to twist" (see thwart). The verb is attested from 1954. The word also is used (since 1834) by antiquarians and others as a term for the twisted metal necklace worn anciently by Gauls, Britons, Germans, etc., from Latin torques in this sense. Earlier it had been called in English torques (1690s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

torques in Medicine


  1. A turning or twisting force.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

torques in Science


  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.