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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 of clench
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for clench
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bend back the ends of the nails, making loose joints, and drive the brads thru the neck into the second body piece, and clench.

    Educational Toys Louis C. Petersen
  • She had to clench her teeth to keep her lips from trembling.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
  • She was pale, and I saw her clench her little hands; but she followed me.

    A Sister's Love W. Heimburg
  • His hands, busily engaged in buttoning his gloves, did not clench.

  • Now clench your right fist and bring it toward your shoulder.

    The Child's Day Woods Hutchinson
  • Then he tried to clench his fist in them without tearing them.

    Debts of Honor Maurus Jkai
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
16
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