Definition of wrest in English:

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Pronunciation: /rest/


[with object]
1Forcibly pull (something) from a person’s grasp: Leila tried to wrest her arm from his hold
More example sentences
  • Jinx lunged forward, intent on grabbing her arm and wresting the glasses from her.
  • Hobbs told investigators that Krystal pulled the knife to defend her friend, and he wrested it away.
  • Their bodies twisted as each tried to wrest the weapon from the other's grasp.
wrench, snatch, seize, grab, pry, pluck, tug, pull, jerk, dislodge, remove
informal yank
1.1Take (something, especially power or control) from someone or something else after considerable effort or difficulty: they wanted to allow people to wrest control of their lives from impersonal bureaucracies
More example sentences
  • But she had difficulty wresting control from the old triumvirate and before long she too was involved in a turf war with other senior managers.
  • The Confederacy failed, narrowly in several instances, to wrest even temporary control of important American waters, despite vigorous efforts to obtain a strong navy.
  • His efforts helped the British to wrest control of Canada away from the French.
1.2 archaic Distort the meaning or interpretation of (something) to suit one’s own interests or views: you appear convinced of my guilt, and wrest every reply I have made
More example sentences
  • They "wrested" the words of truth to their own and their country's destruction.
  • The plaintiff has here unnaturally wrested the words beyond their natural import.


A key for tuning a harp or piano.
Example sentences
  • With respect to the harp, he produces the sharps, flats, quarter-notes, or any intermediate variation deviating from the natural notes, by causing the wrest-pins, that if, the pins by which the strings are extended and tuned, to move partly round centres and thereby increase or decrease the tension of the strings more or less, as may be required to answer the desired change of the notes.


Old English wrǣstan 'twist, tighten', of Germanic origin; related to Danish vriste, also to wrist.

Words that rhyme with wrest

abreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, zest

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wrest

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