To wrench means to grab or pull something with a lot of physical force. See this teddy bear? If you want it, you’ll have to wrench it out of my hands, because I’m not willing to give it up.

Maybe you have a wrench at home, that is, a hand tool that is used to hold or twist a nut or a pipe joint. If so, you also have a great way to remember what wrench the verb means. Just imagine you're twisting with a wrench, except instead of using a tool, you’re using your hands. If something is heart wrenching, it makes you feel very sad. If you wrench a part of your body, you strain, pull or twist it, injuring yourself in some way.

Definitions of wrench

n a sharp strain on muscles or ligaments

“the wrench to his knee occurred as he fell”
pull, twist
a painful injury to a joint caused by a sudden wrenching of its ligaments
Type of:
harm, hurt, injury, trauma
any physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident or fracture etc.

n a jerky pulling movement

Type of:
motion, movement
a natural event that involves a change in the position or location of something

n a hand tool that is used to hold or twist a nut or bolt

show 22 types...
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adjustable spanner, adjustable wrench
can be changed to different settings
Allen wrench
a wrench for Allen screws
alligator wrench
a wrench with a v-shaped jaw and serrations on one side (resembles the open jaws of an alligator)
box end wrench, box wrench
a wrench with a closed loop (a socket) that fits over a nut or bolt head
brace wrench
a wrench shaped like a brace (has a handle shaped like a crank) and a socket head
bulldog wrench
a wrench designed to provide a firm grip on something
carriage wrench
a wrench designed for use with carriage bolts
dog wrench
a wrench with a handle shaped like a crank
hook spanner, hook wrench
a wrench with a hook that fits over a nut or bolt head
lug wrench
a wrench with jaws that have projecting lugs to engage the object that is to be rotated
open-end wrench, tappet wrench
a wrench having parallel jaws at fixed separation (often on both ends of the handle)
pin wrench
a wrench that has a projecting pin that fits into a socket on the object to be turned
screw key
a wrench for turning a screw
socket wrench
a wrench with a handle onto which sockets of different sizes can be fitted
sparkplug wrench
a wrench for removing or tightening spark plugs into the cylinder head of an internal combustion engine
tap wrench
a wrench for turning a tap to create an internal screw thread
torque wrench
a wrench that has a gauge that indicates the amount of torque being applied
crescent wrench
an adjustable wrench designed to fit hexagonal nuts with the adjusting screw built into the head of the wrench
monkey wrench, monkey-wrench
adjustable wrench that has one fixed and one adjustable jaw
pipe wrench, tube wrench
adjustable wrench for gripping and turning a pipe; has two serrated jaws that are adjusted to grip the pipe
screw wrench
adjustable wrench that has one jaw that can be adjusted by turning a screw
S wrench
a wrench with an S-shaped handle
Type of:
hand tool
a tool used with workers' hands

v twist or pull violently or suddenly, especially so as to remove (something) from that to which it is attached or from where it originates

wrench a window off its hinges”
wrench oneself free from somebody's grip”
“a deep sigh was wrenched from his chest”
Type of:
apply force so as to cause motion towards the source of the motion

v make a sudden twisting motion

Type of:
squirm, twist, worm, wrestle, wriggle, writhe
to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling)

v twist and compress, as if in pain or anguish

contort, deform, distort, wring
twist and press out of shape
Type of:
distort, twine, twist
form into a spiral shape

v twist suddenly so as to sprain

wrench one's ankle”
rick, sprain, turn, twist, wrick
Type of:
injure, wound
cause injuries or bodily harm to

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