Meaning of wrest in English:


Pronunciation /rɛst/

See synonyms for wrest

Translate wrest into Spanish


[with object]
  • 1Forcibly pull (something) from a person's grasp.

    ‘Leila tried to wrest her arm from his hold’
    • ‘Jinx lunged forward, intent on grabbing her arm and wresting the glasses from her.’
    • ‘Hobbs told investigators that Krystal pulled the knife to defend her friend, and he wrested it away.’
    • ‘Their bodies twisted as each tried to wrest the weapon from the other's grasp.’
    • ‘Once she had succeeded in wresting the radio from Mike's grasp, she spoke into the intercom eagerly.’
    • ‘While he was disoriented, I wrested the gun from his grasp and threw it far away.’
    • ‘He wrested his right hand from my grasp to wipe them roughly away from the side of his nose.’
    • ‘When I got to the car the wind grabbed hold of the door, trying to wrest it out of my hands and off of its hinges.’
    • ‘Especially in his final years, Evans often went on scavenging hunts, wresting all kinds of street signs from their rightful places.’
    • ‘As the rogue hand attempted to ferry off my telephone, I like to think that my super speed reflexes and superhuman strength actually wrested the phone out of the insistent grip of the powerful man trying to steal my phone.’
    wrench, snatch, seize, grab, take by force, remove by force, force, prise, peel, pluck, tear, rip, heave, twist, tug, pull, jerk, dislodge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Take (something, especially power or control) after considerable effort or difficulty.
      ‘they wanted people to wrest control of their lives from impersonal bureaucracies’
      • ‘But she had difficulty wresting control from the old triumvirate and before long she too was involved in a turf war with other senior managers.’
      • ‘The Confederacy failed, narrowly in several instances, to wrest even temporary control of important American waters, despite vigorous efforts to obtain a strong navy.’
      • ‘His efforts helped the British to wrest control of Canada away from the French.’
      • ‘But Morecambe improved again in the second half, wresting control of the midfield from North End through substitutes Dave Perkins and Michael Stringfellow and after McKenna's departure.’
      • ‘Having wrested at least partial control of the distribution process through file-sharing and downloading, consumers have voiced their dissatisfaction with the corporate stranglehold on home entertainment.’
      • ‘By 1915, Fallon farmers seriously considered forming a militia to wrest control of the dams and canals along the Truckee and Carson Rivers from the federal government.’
      • ‘By the 1990s, players, in a variety of sports, had formed player associations in trying to wrest back league-imposed controls and/or enhance their economic rights.’
      • ‘As opposition groups gain more rights to voice their views, popularly elected bodies accountable to the people might finally wrest real power from authoritarian regimes.’
      • ‘A battle is raging between those who feel Internet users should control their own time online and those trying to wrest that control away.’
      • ‘So there's a symbolic and tactical significance there, that the insurgents, for whatever period of time, can wrest control of key sites away from the authorities.’
      • ‘In the 16th Century, Raja Wadiyar defeated the viceroy of the Vijayanagar empire, wrested the famed golden throne from him and established the sovereignty of the Mysore kings with Srirangapatna as the capital.’
      • ‘In 1990 both seats were wrested from the coalition.’
      • ‘Six seats in its 25-seat tally were wrested from other parties.’
      • ‘As the half wore on, Oban's desperation became clear as first Fraser Inglis and then Dougie MacIntyre headed to full forward in an attempt to pull back the score and wrest momentum from the holders.’
      • ‘Dravid is a quality batsman but, against the odds, not one who can go toe-to-toe with the world's best bowlers and wrest the initiative from their grasp.’
      • ‘I will go on trying to wrest the championship from his grasp and I still have age on my side.’
      • ‘In fact having emerged from lunch to face bowlers freshened by the break and with a reasonably new ball, the duo wrested all advantage away from the Kiwi's by scoring 85 in an hour.’
      • ‘They had wrested the lead from Melrose by a one-point margin, and were facing an opposition that looked rattled, weary and vulnerable, with just five minutes to go.’
      • ‘If the forces of local nationalism have generally lacked the capacity to wrest independence from a reluctant political center, there are indications that such movements may fare better in the future.’
      • ‘Third, have an alternative strategy to wrest the initiative from them and force them to acquiesce.’
  • 2 archaic Distort the meaning or interpretation of (something) to suit one's own interests or views.

    ‘you appear convinced of my guilt, and wrest every reply I have made’
    • ‘They "wrested" the words of truth to their own and their country's destruction.’
    • ‘The plaintiff has here unnaturally wrested the words beyond their natural import.’


  • A key for tuning a harp or piano.

    • ‘With respect to the harp, he produces the sharps, flats, quarter-notes, or any intermediate variation deviating from the natural notes, by causing the wrest-pins, that if, the pins by which the strings are extended and tuned, to move partly round centres and thereby increase or decrease the tension of the strings more or less, as may be required to answer the desired change of the notes.’


Old English wrǣstan ‘twist, tighten’, of Germanic origin; related to Danish vriste, also to wrist.