Definition of wrench in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɛn(t)ʃ/


1A sudden violent twist or pull: with a wrench Tony wriggled free
More example sentences
  • Most sprains happen from a sudden wrench or twist.
  • Jo steeled herself, and with an almighty wrench pulled her legs free of Morgan's vice-like grip.
  • A sharp wrench to my shoulder and Jonathan forcibly pulling me to my feet shocked me.
tug, pull, jerk, jolt, wrest, heave, twist
informal yank
2A feeling of sadness or distress caused by one’s own or another’s departure: it will be a real wrench to leave after eight years
More example sentences
  • The move was a real wrench, and he feels guilty about it even though everyone has told him he has done the right thing.
  • There was more gut wrench when he left Liverpool for Real Sociedad in 1989, only to return to Merseyside with Tranmere as a player two years later.
  • So, as you can imagine, it's a great wrench to be pulling out: I'm emotionally involved now, it's part of me.
painful parting, distressing separation, traumatic event;
pain, ache, pang, trauma
Image of wrench
3An adjustable tool like a spanner, used for gripping and turning nuts or bolts: you will need a wrench to tighten it in position
More example sentences
  • An adjustable wrench works well to tighten up the hardware that holds the faucet in place.
  • Use the adjustable wrench and tighten all the nuts.
  • Remove the pivot bolt with a wrench and take out the spring - with a screwdriver, if necessary.
British  spanner, adjustable spanner;
North American  monkey wrench
4 Mechanics A combination of a couple with a force along its axis.


[with object]
1Pull or twist suddenly and violently: Casey grabbed the gun and wrenched it from my hand [with object and complement]: she wrenched herself free of his grip
More example sentences
  • Like a flash, Dagnin leaps onto the table and wrenches his sword free.
  • Releasing the clutch pedal suddenly, I floored the accelerator, and the wheels spun madly as I wrenched the steering wheel with all my might.
  • On days like this I dream of wrenching the machine from the sockets and hauling it off my desk, showering useless pieces of paper and coffee cups and disks all over the cheap government carpet.
tug, pull, jerk, wrest, heave, twist, tear, rip, pluck, grab, seize, snatch, force, take by force, remove by force, prise, peel;
North American  pry
informal yank
1.1Injure (a part of the body) as a result of a sudden twisting movement: she slipped and wrenched her ankle
More example sentences
  • In an effort not to crush them and/or avoid severe plastic pokey bit perforation of your foot, you will twist one way or the other and thus wrench your ankle.
  • A racer from Team Whole Foods Market wrenched her ankle immediately and vanished in the cloud of dust raised by the stampede.
  • Upon getting up, he discovered that he'd wrenched his ankle, and couldn't put much weight on it.
sprain, twist, turn, strain, rick, crick, pull, dislocate, put out of joint;
damage, injure, hurt
1.2 archaic Distort to fit a particular theory or interpretation: to wrench our Bible to make it fit a misconception of facts
More example sentences
  • Certainly he would have increased the likelihood of gaining insight had he focused on Nietzsche’s books rather than on scribbled notes and sentences wrenched from context.
2Turn (something, especially a nut or bolt) with a wrench.
Example sentences
  • Therefore, the bolt or nut can be continuously wrenched at one time without troublesome operation.


Late Old English wrencan 'twist', of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with wrench

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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wrench

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