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monkey wrench

Also called, especially British, adjustable spanner. a wrench having an adjustable jaw permitting it to grasp nuts or the like of different sizes.
something that interferes with functioning; obstacle:
He threw a monkey wrench into our plans.
Origin of monkey wrench


[muhng-kee-rench] /ˈmʌŋ kiˌrɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
to ruin (plans, a schedule, etc.) unavoidably or, sometimes, deliberately:
The storm monkey-wrenched our plans for a picnic.
verb (used without object)
to prevent, delay, or sabotage industrialization or development of wilderness areas, especially through vandalism.
Related forms
monkey-wrencher, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for monkey wrench
  • Of course, the weather can throw a monkey wrench in any observation plans.
  • It throws a monkey wrench at some long held, deeply ingrained beliefs.
  • The monkey wrench in all this that you seem to point to is that you can not have stars without galaxies.
  • If they fail, then they will have thrown a gigantic monkey wrench into the wheel of global economic and political progress.
  • Weather often throws a monkey wrench into the gears.
  • He said lowering the speed is throwing a monkey wrench in the works.
  • Heavy directional commute traffic can be anticipated each week day but special events throw a monkey wrench into the mix.
  • It will provide another opportunity for throwing a monkey wrench and new litigation.
British Dictionary definitions for monkey wrench

monkey wrench

a wrench with adjustable jaws
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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Slang definitions & phrases for monkey wrench



Promoting preservation of the environment by sabotage

[1975+; fr Edward Abbey's novel The Monkey-Wrench Gang; ultimately fr throw a monkey wrench into the machinery]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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