Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To loosen from a clenched position; relax: unclench one's fists.
  • intransitive v. To become unclenched.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to open (something that was clenched)
  • v. to relax, especially one's muscles

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. Same as unclinch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To open, or to force open, as the closed hand.

Etymologies

From un- + clench. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By adopting this approach, President Obama would be carrying out his inaugural offer to repressive regimes of extending a hand - but only to those willing to "unclench" their fists.

    Jerry Fowler: President Obama Must Address Sudan at the UN General Assembly

  • An Iranian theocratic regime had launched a bid for dominion in its region; Mr. Obama offered it an olive branch and waited for it to "unclench" its fist.

    Obama's Persian Tutorial

  • In between apologizing for our past, our present, our strength, and our prosperity, the Bama promised our enemies great rewards if they'd just "unclench" their fists.

    Monicamemo.com

  • Middle East specialists said the latest move was not surprising, given President Obama's remarks in his inaugural address that Washington was willing to extend a hand to hostile regimes if they "unclench" their fists.

    The Washington Times stories: Latest Headlines

  • "unclench" its fist, amid reports that the new administration is considering further gestures.

    PrairiePundit

  • Nor did he unclench his hands during all the time they sang.

    CHAPTER XXX

  • They teach me to let go, to unclench, to find peace.

    Shasta Nelson, M.Div.: Blessing of the Open Hands

  • As the President put it in his inaugural address: "… we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist".

    The Nobel Peace Prize 2009 - Presentation Speech

  • You unclench, unwind, swish your hair to the right side, gingerly run the back of your fingers under your nose and over your twitching lips, pick up the tray and open the laptop.

    Girl Ajar

  • Mr. Obama had said he was willing to deal with the theocracy and regimes like it so long as they were willing to "unclench their fist."

    Hillary Clinton Echoes the Bush Doc

Comments

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  • "Extending his hand to Tehran, President Obama has invited those who govern the Islamic republic to 'unclench their fists.' Yet to a considerable degree, those clenched fists are of our own making."
    - Andrew Bacevich, Farewell, the American Century, tomdispatch.com, 28 April 2009.

    April 29, 2009