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clench

[klench] /klɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
1.
to close (the hands, teeth, etc.) tightly.
2.
to grasp firmly; grip.
3.
clinch (def 1).
4.
clinch (defs 2–4).
verb (used without object)
5.
to close or knot up tightly:
His hands clenched as he faced his enemy.
noun
6.
the act of clenching.
7.
a tight hold; grip.
8.
something that clenches or holds fast.
9.
clinch (defs 9, 11, 12).
Origin
1200-1250
1200-50; Middle English clenchen; compare Old English beclencan hold fast
Can be confused
clench, clinch.
Synonyms
2. clasp, clutch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for clench
  • Otherwise, any hand offered will be in the form of clench fists.
  • So the next time you're faced with a choice that takes self-control, clench your fist or firm that bicep.
  • The problem with traditional frosting decoration is that it requires you to clench a little tube, which everyone hates.
  • Some people shut their eyes or clench the arms of their chair when they are watching a horror movie.
  • Their friends may give them strange looks, so teach them to clench their fists and furrow their brow to sell it.
  • Afterward, slipping on the spilled water can be great for a whole-body clench.
  • She is not sure how long she sits under the glare of the overhead light, how long her hands clench themselves in her lap.
  • He might suddenly stop smiling and clench his long hands, and offer himself up to martyrdom for an idea.
  • On one side, the familiar letterhead that caused her teeth to clench.
  • Many of us clench the jaw as a reaction to tension without realizing it.
British Dictionary definitions for clench

clench

/klɛntʃ/
verb (transitive)
1.
to close or squeeze together (the teeth, a fist, etc) tightly
2.
to grasp or grip firmly
noun
3.
a firm grasp or grip
4.
a device that grasps or grips, such as a clamp
noun, verb
5.
another word for clinch
Word Origin
Old English beclencan, related to Old High German klenken to tie, Middle High German klank noose, Dutch klinken rivet
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clench
v.

Old English (be)clencan "to hold fast, make cling," causative of clingan (see cling); cf. stench/stink. Related: Clenched; clenching.

n.

"part of a nail that clinchers," 1590s, from clench (v.). Meaning "a grasp, grip" is from 1779.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
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