clench

[klench]
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:
1200–50; Middle English clenchen; compare Old English beclencan hold fast

clench, clinch.


2. clasp, clutch.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
clench (klɛntʃ)
 
vb
1.  to close or squeeze together (the teeth, a fist, etc) tightly
2.  to grasp or grip firmly
 
n
3.  a firm grasp or grip
4.  a device that grasps or grips, such as a clamp
 
n, —vb
5.  another word for clinch
 
[Old English beclencan, related to Old High German klenken to tie, Middle High German klank noose, Dutch klinken rivet]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

clench
O.E. beclencan "to hold fast, make cling," caus. of clingan (see cling).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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