[ rest ]
/ rɛst /

verb (used with object)

to twist or turn; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist.
to take away by force: to wrest a knife from a child.
to get by effort: to wrest a living from the soil.
to twist or turn from the proper course, application, use, meaning, or the like; wrench.


a wresting; twist or wrench.
a key or small wrench for tuning stringed musical instruments, as the harp or piano, by turning the pins to which the strings are fastened.

Origin of wrest

before 1000; (v.) Middle English wresten, Old English wrǣstan; cognate with Old Norse reista; akin to wrist; (noun) Middle English: a wresting, derivative of the v.

Related forms

wrest·er, nounun·wrest·ed, adjectiveun·wrest·ing, adjective

Can be confused

rest wrest
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wrest

British Dictionary definitions for wrest


/ (rɛst) /

verb (tr)

to take or force away by violent pulling or twisting
to seize forcibly by violent or unlawful means
to obtain by laborious effort
to distort in meaning, purpose, etc


the act or an instance of wresting
archaic a small key used to tune a piano or harp

Derived Forms

wrester, noun

Word Origin for wrest

Old English wrǣstan; related to Old Norse reista. See writhe
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