- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wrest
She could never seem to wrest free any back royalties, but she always seemed to owe back taxes.Before the Earthquake Hit: When The Beatles Landed in America
January 29, 2014
The military made an aggressive push to wrest control over drone targeting decisions away from the president.Obama: I Make the Drone Decisions
May 23, 2013
Robert Shrum on the four tricks the GOP might use to wrest back control.Obama Realigns, the GOP Declines: The New Political Paradigm
February 1, 2013
Jade asked Strong if she was ever at a loss for ideas and if so, how she might wrest herself from a slump.Camp Fashion Design Draws Budding Designers To New York
July 13, 2012
The answer is to occupy the Tea Party—and wrest it from the grumpy old men who currently run it.Blame the Baby Boomers
October 11, 2011
He must see who his captive was, wrest from him the heart of the mystery.Pirates of the Gorm
Formerly she would have liked to wrest by force from heaven the secrets of destiny.Doctor Pascal
By concession, we may be all we strive for, but never could wrest by force.The Daltons, Volume I (of II)
Charles James Lever
At the very moment of possessing you some miracle will wrest you from my arms.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
And what is more, I'll do it too, in order to wrest my friends from their clutches!
- 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
Word Origin and History for wrest
Old English wræstan "to twist, wrench," from Proto-Germanic *wraistijanan (cf. Old Norse reista "to bend, twist"), derivative of *wrig-, *wreik- "to turn" (see wry). Meaning "to pull, detach" (something) is recorded from c.1300. Meaning "to take by force" (in reference to power, authority, etc.) is attested from early 15c. Related: Wrested; wresting.