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.

Definitions of clench
  1. verb
    squeeze together tightly
    clench one's jaw”
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    clench together
    type of:
    press firmly
  2. verb
    hold in a tight grasp
    clench a steering wheel”
    synonyms: clinch
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    type of:
    clutch, prehend, seize
    take hold of; grab
  3. noun
    the act of grasping
    synonyms: clasp, clutch, clutches, grasp, grip, hold
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    show 12 types...
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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)
  4. noun
    a small slip noose made with seizing
    synonyms: clinch
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    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
Word Family

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