[ rench ]
See synonyms for: wrenchwrenchedwrenching on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to twist suddenly and forcibly; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist: He wrenched the prisoner's wrist.

  2. to overstrain or injure (the ankle, knee, etc.) by a sudden, violent twist: When she fell, she wrenched her ankle.

  1. to affect distressingly as if by a wrench.

  2. to wrest, as from the right use or meaning: to wrench the facts out of context.

verb (used without object)
  1. to twist, turn, or move suddenly aside: He wrenched away.

  2. to give a wrench or twist at something.

  1. a wrenching movement; a sudden, violent twist: With a quick wrench, she freed herself.

  2. a painful, straining twist, as of the ankle or wrist.

  1. a sharp, distressing strain, as to the feelings.

  2. a twisting or distortion, as of meaning.

  3. 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

Other words for wrench

Other words from wrench

  • wrencher, noun
  • wrench·ing·ly, adverb
  • outwrench, verb (used with object)
  • un·wrenched, adjective

Words that may be confused with wrench

Words Nearby wrench

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use wrench in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for wrench


/ (rɛntʃ) /

  1. 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

  2. (tr) to twist suddenly so as to sprain (a limb): to wrench one's ankle

  1. (tr) to give pain to

  2. (tr) to twist from the original meaning or purpose

  3. (intr) to make a sudden twisting motion

  1. a forceful twist or pull

  2. an injury to a limb, caused by twisting

  1. sudden pain caused esp by parting

  2. a parting that is difficult or painful to make

  3. a distorting of the original meaning or purpose

  4. a spanner, esp one with adjustable jaws: See also torque wrench

Origin of wrench

Old English wrencan; related to Old High German renken, Lithuanian rangyti to twist. See wrinkle 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with wrench


see throw a monkey wrench.

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