When you clench something, you grip, press, or squeeze it. You might clench your fists when you're angry or clench your teeth when you're worried, for example.

People often clench parts of their own bodies, but they can also clench other things. Your grandmother might tend to clench you in her arms when you visit her, and a toddler might clench his stuffed animal to his chest when he falls asleep at night. The Old English root of clench is beclencan, which means "to hold fast or make cling," and it has the same origins as the word cling.

Primary Meanings of clench

squeeze together tightly
the act of grasping
a small slip noose made with seizing
Full Definitions of clench

v squeeze together tightly

clench one's jaw”
clench together
Type of:
press firmly

v hold in a tight grasp

clench a steering wheel”
Type of:
clutch, prehend, seize
take hold of; grab

n the act of grasping

clasp, clutch, clutches, grasp, grip, hold
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choke hold, chokehold
a restraining hold; someone loops the arm around the neck of another person in a tight grip, usually from behind
embrace, embracement, embracing
the act of clasping another person in the arms (as in greeting or affection)
wrestling hold
a hold used in the sport of wrestling
cuddle, nestle, snuggle
a close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace
clinch, hug, squeeze
a tight or amorous embrace
bear hug
a wrestling hold with arms locked tightly around the opponent
any of several wrestling holds in which an arm is passed under the opponent's arm from behind and the hand exerts pressure on the back of the neck
Japanese stranglehold
a wrestling hold in which the opponent's arms are crossed in front of his own neck to exert pressure on his windpipe
any wrestling hold in which some part of the opponent's body is twisted or pressured
scissor grip, scissor hold, scissors, scissors grip, scissors hold
a wrestling hold in which you wrap your legs around the opponents body or head and put your feet together and squeeze
a wrestling hold in which the arms are pressed against the opponent's windpipe
a wrestling hold in which the toe is held and the leg is twisted against the joints
Type of:
grasping, prehension, seizing, taking hold
the act of gripping something firmly with the hands (or the tentacles)

n a small slip noose made with seizing

double clinch
a clinch with two loops
inside clinch
a clinch with the end of the line inside the loop
outside clinch
a clinch with the end of the line outside the loop
Type of:
noose, running noose, slip noose
a loop formed in a cord or rope by means of a slipknot; it binds tighter as the cord or rope is pulled

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