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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 from the web for clenched
  • The cosmic duo will appear closer together in the sky than the width of your clenched fist at arms length.
  • Pronounced in a slightly patrician clenched-jaw drawl, this statement is jarring in two respects.
  • He stands in the middle of the stage, arms folded, a coffee stirrer clenched in his teeth.
  • There were moments when she actually rocked up on her toes, clenched her fists, and bit her lip as if to silence herself.
  • Each song has the clenched power and pitiless clarity.
  • Year after year, workers faced off against bosses with their fists clenched.
  • In any other context, a clenched fist would be perceived as hostile.
  • On one wall, monks fight with feet and clenched fists in a cloistered garden.
  • He clenched his fists and mimicked the way she balled her tiny hands.
  • His mouth was tightly clenched, his eyes wandered rapidly, and he responded only to painful stimuli.
British Dictionary definitions for clenched

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 clenched

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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16
19
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