[ rest ]
See synonyms for wrest on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to twist or turn; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist.

  2. to take away by force: to wrest a knife from a child.

  1. to get by effort: to wrest a living from the soil.

  2. to twist or turn from the proper course, application, use, meaning, or the like; wrench.

  1. a wresting; twist or wrench.

  2. 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

First recorded before 1000; (verb) Middle English wresten, Old English wrǣstan “to turn, twist,” from unattested Old Norse wreista (Icelandic reista ); akin to wrist; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the verb and first recorded in 1350-1400

synonym study For wrest

3. See extract.

Other words for wrest

Other words from wrest

  • wrester, noun
  • un·wrest·ed, adjective
  • un·wrest·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with wrest

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

British Dictionary definitions for wrest


/ (rɛst) /

  1. to take or force away by violent pulling or twisting

  2. to seize forcibly by violent or unlawful means

  1. to obtain by laborious effort

  2. to distort in meaning, purpose, etc

  1. the act or an instance of wresting

  2. archaic a small key used to tune a piano or harp

Origin of wrest

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

Derived forms of wrest

  • wrester, noun

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