Definition of clench in English:


Syllabification: clench
Pronunciation: /klenCH


  • 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] Back to top  
  • 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.

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