Definition of clench in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /klen(t)SH/


1(With reference to the fingers or hand) close into a tight ball, especially when feeling extreme anger: [with object]: she clenched her fists, struggling for control [no object]: John’s right hand clenched into a fist (as adjective clenched) he struck the wall with his clenched fist
More example sentences
  • His eyes danced with anger and he had his fingers clenched into a tight ball.
  • His fingers convulsively clenched into fists for an instant before he forced his tense muscles to relax.
  • His face twisted into furry and his hands clenched into tight fists.
1.1(With reference to the teeth) press or be pressed tightly together, especially with anger or determination or so as to suppress a strong emotion: [no object]: her teeth clenched in anger
More example sentences
  • He said furiously through teeth that were clenched tightly together.
  • I could see that his teeth were clenched with suppressed emotion; tears or anger I couldn't tell.
  • It's enough to leave you breathless - if you could forget the obsession with an air-giving hose clenched tightly between your teeth.
squeeze together, clamp together, close/shut tightly;
make into a fist
1.2 [with object] Grasp (something) tightly, especially with the hands or between the teeth: he clenched the steering wheel so hard that the car wobbled
More example sentences
  • Sarah asked bravely, her hands still firmly clenching Migoto's waist.
  • A small, black satchel lay over his left shoulder, and a 4-foot long wooden staff was clenched firmly in his right paw.
  • Sitting upright, his knuckles paled as he clenched the bedcover firmly.
1.3 [no object] (Of a muscular part of the body) tighten or contract sharply, especially with strong emotion: Mark felt his stomach clench in alarm
More example sentences
  • His body is clenching from the pain and his mouth is drooling.
  • Still, when she tried to open her eyes, her body clenched in protest.
  • My body clenched in anticipation of the bullets that would rip through it.


[in singular]
A contraction or tightening of part of the body: she saw the anger rise, saw the clench of his fists
More example sentences
  • The creases in her face deepened as his frown turned into a clench.
  • It had not helped, even with the burning clench of his muscles or the adrenaline coursing through his body.
  • I looked away from Matt as I felt a clench in my chest.


Old English (in the sense of clinch 'fix securely'): of Germanic origin; related to cling.

Words that rhyme with clench

backbench, bench, blench, Dench, drench, entrench, French, frontbench, quench, stench, tench, trench, wench, wrench

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: clench

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.