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

  • transitive v. To twist, squeeze, or compress, especially so as to extract liquid. Often used with out.
  • transitive v. To extract (liquid) by twisting or compressing. Often used with out.
  • transitive v. To wrench or twist forcibly or painfully: wring the neck of a chicken.
  • transitive v. To clasp and twist or squeeze (one's hands), as in distress.
  • transitive v. To clasp firmly and shake (another's hand), as in congratulation.
  • transitive v. To cause distress to; affect with painful emotion: a tale that wrings the heart.
  • transitive v. To obtain or extract by applying force or pressure: wrung the truth out of the recalcitrant witness.
  • intransitive v. To writhe or squirm, as in pain.
  • n. The act or an instance of wringing; a squeeze or twist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To squeeze or twist tightly so that liquid is forced out.
  • v. To obtain by force.
  • v. To hold tightly and press or twist.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A writhing, as in anguish; a twisting; a griping.
  • intransitive v. To writhe; to twist, as with anguish.
  • transitive v. To twist and compress; to turn and strain with violence; to writhe; to squeeze hard; to pinch.
  • transitive v. Hence, to pain; to distress; to torment; to torture.
  • transitive v. To distort; to pervert; to wrest.
  • transitive v. To extract or obtain by twisting and compressing; to squeeze or press (out); hence, to extort; to draw forth by violence, or against resistance or repugnance; -- usually with out or form.
  • transitive v. To subject to extortion; to afflict, or oppress, in order to enforce compliance.
  • transitive v. To bend or strain out of its position.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To twist in the hands, as something flexible; twist or flex forcibly: as, to wring clothes after washing, to force out the water; to wring a friend's hand in cordial greeting: often with out.
  • To twist out of place, shape, or relation; bend or strain tortuously or twistingly: as, to wring a mast; to wring the neck of a chicken.
  • To turn or divert the course or purport of; distort; pervert.
  • To affect painfully by or as if by some contorting or compressing action or effect; torture; rack; distress; pain.
  • To force out, as a fluid, by twisting or contorting pressure; extract or obtain by or as if by a squeezing flexure; hence, to squeeze out in any way; extort: as, to wring water from clothes; to wring a reluctant consent from a person: often with out.
  • To free from a liquid by twisting or compression: as, to wring out clothes.
  • To writhe; twist about, as with anguish; squirm; suffer torture.
  • To pinch; pain.
  • To force one's way by pressure.
  • n. A wringer or presser; a wine-press or cider-press.
  • n. Action expressive of anguish; writhing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. twist and press out of shape
  • n. a twisting squeeze
  • v. obtain by coercion or intimidation
  • v. twist and compress, as if in pain or anguish
  • v. twist, squeeze, or compress in order to extract liquid


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

Middle English wringen, from Old English wringan; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English wringan.


  • Now this is nothing more than an attempt on the part of the translator to wring from the Old English lines some scrap of proof for the peculiar theory that he holds of the origin of the poem.

    The Translations of Beowulf A Critical Bibliography

  • These improved weapons will inevitably demand the rearmament of the armies of Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and Russia, at an estimated cost of not less than $754,000,000, a sum which will tax the wits of the parliaments to wring from the groaning workers.

    The Impossibility of War

  • Note how few public concessions (none) Obama was able to wring from the Chinese about

    The Full Feed from

  • They have yet to see the details of the deal, as any of us have, but they were encouraged by the fact that it looked like the FTC was able to kind of wring some more out of America Online and Time Warner.

    CNN Transcript - Breaking News: FTC Approves Merger of AOL and Time Warner - December 14, 2000

  • The only qualification the British were able to wring from the Japanese was that the closing of the Burma Road—now China’s last link to the world—would last for only three months, a period of time that would give Japan and China an opportunity to reach a peace settlement.

    The Last Empress

  • Here is a pun on 'wring' and 'ring'; and 'sol-fa' is used as an equivalent for 'sing.'

    Shakespeare and Music With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries

  • It was the story of her life -- a simple tale of ordinary things, such as wring the quiet hearts and train the unnoticed saints of this world.


  • "Now, Peggy, my dear," said her husband when it was finished, "get in there -- off wi 'your things an' wring 'em out."

    The Coxswain's Bride also, Jack Frost and Sons; and, A Double Rescue

  • And mark the deep and voiceless gush Of f eelings - such as wring the heart That grave - the spade - the coffin - pall,

    De la philosophie de la nature

  • The ridiculous situation which was allowed by successive Governments to persist in the Gaelic-speaking districts of the West until a few years ago, in which teachers were appointed to the schools without any knowledge of the only language spoken by the children whom they purported to educate, is well illustrated by the statement on the part of one of their number to the effect that it took two years to extirpate, to "wring" the Irish speech out of the children and replace it, one must suppose, by English, and this process, it must be remembered, was gone through with the children of a peasantry whom a distinguished French publicist -- M.L. Paul-Dubois -- has described as perhaps the most intellectual in Europe.

    Ireland and the Home Rule Movement


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  • 'Oh, but I will wring your heart yet!' he cried at the invisible darkness.

    -Heart of Darkness, Conrad

    March 20, 2011

  • Wring my bell.

    December 18, 2008