follow Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com's Word of the Year is...

wrench

[rench] /rɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
1.
to twist suddenly and forcibly; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist:
He wrenched the prisoner's wrist.
2.
to overstrain or injure (the ankle, knee, etc.) by a sudden, violent twist:
When she fell, she wrenched her ankle.
3.
to affect distressingly as if by a wrench.
4.
to wrest, as from the right use or meaning:
to wrench the facts out of context.
verb (used without object)
5.
to twist, turn, or move suddenly aside:
He wrenched away.
6.
to give a wrench or twist at something.
noun
7.
a wrenching movement; a sudden, violent twist:
With a quick wrench, she freed herself.
8.
a painful, straining twist, as of the ankle or wrist.
9.
a sharp, distressing strain, as to the feelings.
10.
a twisting or distortion, as of meaning.
11.
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
1050
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.
Synonyms
4. distort, twist, warp.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for wrenching
  • He had leapt at once into the chauffeur's seat, and with flushed face was wrenching and tugging at the disused machinery.
  • The history of particle cosmology shows that science can benefit from wrenching changes.
  • New research addresses the wrenching question left when someone ends his or her own life.
  • Reading stories that feature scientific dreams of these writers, and now knowing that they've come true, can be heart-wrenching.
  • But vacant streets are a heart-wrenching commonplace in many little towns.
  • wrenching environmental problems are plaguing the world's newest industrial powerhouse.
  • It's such a wrenching moment that everyone looks away.
  • One thing they're missing is that stomach-wrenching doubt which was such a strong influence on us.
  • For others, the sight of a solar panel invading a pristine desert environment is gut wrenching.
  • She would sob and tell heart-wrenching stories about her family.
British Dictionary definitions for wrenching

wrench

/rɛntʃ/
verb
1.
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
2.
(transitive) to twist suddenly so as to sprain (a limb): to wrench one's ankle
3.
(transitive) to give pain to
4.
(transitive) to twist from the original meaning or purpose
5.
(intransitive) to make a sudden twisting motion
noun
6.
a forceful twist or pull
7.
an injury to a limb, caused by twisting
8.
sudden pain caused esp by parting
9.
a parting that is difficult or painful to make
10.
a distorting of the original meaning or purpose
11.
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wrenching

wrench

v.

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.

n.

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
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with wrenching

wrench

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for wrench

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for wrenching

18
21
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with wrenching

Nearby words for wrenching