Share this entry

Share this page

wring

Line breaks: wring
Pronunciation: /rɪŋ
 
/

Definition of wring in English:

verb (past and past participle wrung /rʌŋ/)

[with object]
1Squeeze and twist (something) to force liquid from it: she wrung the cloth out in the sink
More example sentences
  • Gently wipe away all traces of the cleanser with a face washer wrung out in tepid water, rinsing at least twice more in warm water.
  • Victoria wrung out the washcloth into the basin and hung it on its peg.
  • We would walk off after each scene; literally wringing our shirts dry of sweat.
Synonyms
twist, squeeze, screw, scrunch, knead, press, mangle;
dry, squeeze dry, screw the water out of
1.1 [with object and adverbial] Extract (liquid) by squeezing and twisting something: I wrung out the excess water
More example sentences
  • Viney hypothesizes that as the raw liquid silk squeezes through the duct, water is wrung out of the protein and calcium is added.
  • It was the sort of rain that resembled water being wrung out of a dishcloth - droplets the size of marbles and musty-smelling to boot.
  • Not only could fat be wrung out of the bread, there were dark foreign objects within its matrix, which upon further investigation turned out to be little globules of maple syrup.
1.2Squeeze (someone’s hand) tightly, especially with sincere emotion: he fervently wrung Rose’s hand
More example sentences
  • Her hands, which had formerly been clasped in her lap, were now being wrung nervously, her fingers gripping and squeezing those of the other hand and vice-versa.
  • Ice let go of his hand to wring hers rather nervously,
1.3 [with object and adverbial] Obtain (something) with difficulty or effort: few concessions were wrung from the government
More example sentences
  • For those readers who are accustomed to more detailed explications, the chapters will read less as case studies and more as efforts to wring from Freud's original texts some interpretive potential.
  • He actually bends over the steering wheel as if to wring an extra couple of miles out of the car.
  • Guiseley wrung one final effort out of Henry before the final whistle and all in all a draw was a fair result.
Synonyms
extract, elicit, force, coerce, exact, extort, wrest, wrench, screw, squeeze, milk
informal bleed
2Break (an animal’s neck) by twisting it forcibly: the chicken shrieked as one of the women wrung its neck humorous I’ll wring her neck when I lay hands on her
More example sentences
  • It's operated by a centrifugal clutch and gives the buggy a far better top speed than a single geared model, and gives the engine a break from not wringing its own neck, trying to hit top speed with only one gear.
  • Back at the peg, its neck will be wrung to kill it.
  • Tobie shrieked, almost wringing her best friend's neck.
3Cause pain or distress to: the letter must have wrung her heart
More example sentences
  • My heart felt like it was being wrung every time he spoke.
  • The narrative material is obviously shaped in order to wring the audience's melodramatic heart.
  • The reason I wrote and posted this chapter, even though it wrung at my heart while I did so, was because writing - in any form - makes me feel better.
Synonyms
rend, tear at, harrow, pierce, stab, wound, lacerate, rack;

noun

[in singular] Back to top  
An act of squeezing or twisting something.
Example sentences
  • I rinse my brush in hot water, warm water and then give it a slight "wring".
  • Do you go steady with the brush for very long before you give it a wring?
  • Most of all I like that you can roll it up in wet clothing, give it a wring, and it removes maybe 50% of the water before hanging the clothes to dry.

Origin

Old English wringan (verb), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch wringen, also to wrong.

More
  • wrong from (Old English):

    An Old English word from Old Norse rangr ‘awry, unjust’, which first meant ‘crooked, curved, or twisted’ and is related to wring (Old English). Until the 17th century the wr- would have been pronounced, and there was obviously something about the sound that suggested the idea of twisting—many English words beginning with wr-, such as wrist, writhe, and wreathe (all OE), contain the notion. Although to get the wrong end of the stick now means ‘to misunderstand something’, the original sense seems to have been ‘to come off worse’. The example in The Swell's Night Guide, a guide to London low life published in 1846, gives an idea of what was wrong with the ‘wrong end’: ‘Which of us had hold of the crappy…end of the stick?’ The proverb two wrongs don't make a right dates from the late 18th century. The Hungarian-born psychiatrist Thomas Szasz summed up the feelings of many when he said in 1973: ‘Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse.’

Phrases

wring one's hands

1
Clasp and twist one’s hands together as a gesture of great distress, especially when one is powerless to change the situation: she was wringing her hands in agitation there was little they could do about it except wring their hands
More example sentences
  • This needs real leadership from the international community to avoid a situation where everyone's just wringing their hands and watching the situation get worse and worse.
  • Still, I'm perfectly willing to spend the first few days of the month wringing my hands over the situation.
  • I wrung my hands together and buried my face into my hands.

Definition of wring in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rɪˈzɪlɪənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…