"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[rench] /rɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
to twist suddenly and forcibly; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist:
He wrenched the prisoner's wrist.
to overstrain or injure (the ankle, knee, etc.) by a sudden, violent twist:
When she fell, she wrenched her ankle.
to affect distressingly as if by a wrench.
to wrest, as from the right use or meaning:
to wrench the facts out of context.
verb (used without object)
to twist, turn, or move suddenly aside:
He wrenched away.
to give a wrench or twist at something.
a wrenching movement; a sudden, violent twist:
With a quick wrench, she freed herself.
a painful, straining twist, as of the ankle or wrist.
a sharp, distressing strain, as to the feelings.
a twisting or distortion, as of meaning.
a tool for gripping and turning or twisting the head of a bolt, a nut, a pipe, or the like, commonly consisting of a bar of metal with fixed or adjustable jaws.
Origin of wrench
before 1050; Middle English wrenchen (v.), Old English wrencan to twist, turn; cognate with German renken
Related forms
wrencher, noun
wrenchingly, adverb
outwrench, verb (used with object)
unwrenched, adjective
Can be confused
retch, winch, wrench, wretch.
4. distort, twist, warp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wrench
  • While you are waiting, unscrew and remove the air vent, using a wrench or channel-type pliers if necessary.
  • Let me throw another wrench into this whole discussion.
  • The others involved lone adults armed with knives or, in once case, a wrench.
  • Of course, the weather can throw a monkey wrench in any observation plans.
  • The others claimed not to know the working end of a wrench.
  • He may have been disappointed in himself, even shaken, but outwardly he was as smooth and focused as a socket wrench.
  • They know how to ride, they know how to wrench and they know how to race.
  • Use a large adjustable wrench or an automotive socket wrench to tighten the bolts that fasten the post to the joist.
  • Any return to a gold standard would include all of the state's deceitful ways of throwing a wrench into the machinery.
  • He worked it down to the gum, and then with a wrench of his shoulder, he twisted it.
British Dictionary definitions for wrench


to give (something) a sudden or violent twist or pull esp so as to remove (something) from that to which it is attached: to wrench a door off its hinges
(transitive) to twist suddenly so as to sprain (a limb): to wrench one's ankle
(transitive) to give pain to
(transitive) to twist from the original meaning or purpose
(intransitive) to make a sudden twisting motion
a forceful twist or pull
an injury to a limb, caused by twisting
sudden pain caused esp by parting
a parting that is difficult or painful to make
a distorting of the original meaning or purpose
a spanner, esp one with adjustable jaws See also torque wrench
Word Origin
Old English wrencan; related to Old High German renken, Lithuanian rangyti to twist. See wrinkle1
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 wrench

Old English wrencan "to twist," from Proto-Germanic *wrankijanan (cf. Old High German renken, German renken "to twist, wrench," Old English wringan "to wring"), from PIE *wreng- "to turn" (cf. Sanskrit vrnakti "turns, twists," Lithuanian rengtis "to grow crooked, to writhe"), nasalized variant of *werg- "to turn" (cf. Latin vergere "to turn, tend toward"), from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Related: Wrenched, wrenching.


Old English wrenc "a twisting, artifice, trick;" see wrench (v.). The meaning "tool with jaws for turning" is first recorded 1794.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with wrench


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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