from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A sudden sharp, forcible twist or turn.
- n. An injury produced by twisting or straining.
- n. A sudden tug at one's emotions; a surge of compassion, sorrow, or anguish.
- n. A break or parting that causes emotional distress.
- n. The pain so associated: felt a wrench when he was parted from his children.
- n. A distortion in the original form or meaning of something written or spoken; twisted interpretation.
- n. Any of various hand or power tools, often having fixed or adjustable jaws, used for gripping, turning, or twisting objects such as nuts, bolts, or pipes.
- transitive v. To twist or turn suddenly and forcibly.
- transitive v. To twist and sprain: I wrenched my knee.
- transitive v. To move, extract, or force free by pulling violently; yank. See Synonyms at jerk1.
- transitive v. To pull at the feelings or emotions of; distress: It wrenched her to watch them go.
- transitive v. To distort or twist the original character or import of: wrenched the text to prove her point.
- intransitive v. To give a wrench, twist, or turn.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Trick; deceit; fraud; stratagem.
- n. A violent twist, or a pull with twisting.
- n. A sprain; an injury by twisting, as in a joint.
- n. Means; contrivance.
- n. An instrument, often a simple bar or lever with jaws or an angular orifice either at the end or between the ends, for exerting a twisting strain, as in turning bolts, nuts, screw taps, etc.; a screw key. Many wrenches have adjustable jaws for grasping nuts, etc., of different sizes.
- n. The system made up of a force and a couple of forces in a plane perpendicular to that force. Any number of forces acting at any points upon a rigid body may be compounded so as to be equivalent to a wrench.
- transitive v. To pull with a twist; to wrest, twist, or force by violence.
- transitive v. To strain; to sprain; hence, to distort; to pervert.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A hose-coupling wrench or spanner. The hose-coupling union may have pins or tits on its exterior face, fitting a hole in the end of the curved bar or spanner; or the unions may have radial holes into which a tit on the end of the spanner may enter.
- n. A crooked or tortuous action; a fraudulent device; a trick; a deceit; a stratagem.
- n. A violent twist or turn given to something; a pulling awry: a sudden twisting out of shape, place, or relation: used of both material and immaterial things: as, to sprain one's foot by a wrench; the change was a great wrench to his feelings.
- n. A sharp turn; specifically, in coursing, the turning of a hare at less than a right angle.
- n. In mathematical physics, a force, or variation of force, tending to give a body a twist about an imaginary or real screw.
- n. A tool consisting essentially of a bar of metal having jaws at one end adapted to catch upon the head of a bolt or a nut, or to hold a metal pipe or rod, so as to turn it.
- n. Means of compulsion.
- To twist or turn about with effort or violence; give a sudden twist to; hence, to distort; pervert; turn awry.
- To injure or pain by a twisting action; produce a distorting effect in or upon; distort; sprain: as, to wrench one's ankle.
- To pull or draw with torsion; extract by twisting or tortuous action; hence, to wrest forcibly or violently.
- To have or undergo a wrenching motion; turn twistingly.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a hand tool that is used to hold or twist a nut or bolt
- v. make a sudden twisting motion
- n. a jerky pulling movement
- n. a sharp strain on muscles or ligaments
- v. twist and compress, as if in pain or anguish
- v. twist suddenly so as to sprain
- 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
From Middle English wrenchen, to twist, from Old English wrencan.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English wrenċan, from Proto-Germanic *wrankijanan. Compare German renken. (Wiktionary)