wrest [rest] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin verb (used with object)

  1. to twist or turn; pull, jerk, or force by a violent twist.
  2. to take away by force: to wrest a knife from a child.
  3. to get by effort: to wrest a living from the soil.
  4. to twist or turn from the proper course, application, use, meaning, or the like; wrench.


  1. a wresting; twist or wrench.
  2. a key or small wrench for tuning stringed musical instruments, as the harp or piano, by turning the pins to which the strings are fastened.

Origin of wrest before 1000; (v.) Middle English wresten, Old English wrǣstan; cognate with Old Norse reista; akin to wrist; (noun) Middle English: a wresting, derivative of the v.Related formswrest·er, nounun·wrest·ed, adjectiveun·wrest·ing, adjectiveCan be confusedrest wrestSynonyms for wrest 1, 3. wring. 3. See extract. Related Words for wrested extort, seize, wring, exact, wrench, usurp, extract, wrestle, force, rend, take, squeeze, falsify Examples from the Web for wrested Contemporary Examples of wrested

  • The version of the song that I had indeed remembered correctly, wrested from the back of my brain!

    15 Years After Napster: How the Music Service Changed the Industry

    Alex Suskind

    June 6, 2014

  • We have now seen that even at great sacrifice, rights are wrested from authority rather than be gifted by them.

    Arab Spring: Revolutionaries Reflect on the One-Year Anniversary

    Mike Giglio

    January 25, 2012

  • The sponsoring networks, media, and third-party groups have wrested away control from the candidates and the national parties.

    Mark McKinnon: Presidential Primary Debate Process Has Gone Rogue

    Mark McKinnon

    January 9, 2012

  • The secretary of State has wrested control of USAID and influence over billions in foreign assistance.

    Hillary’s Power Grab

    Tara McKelvey

    January 14, 2011

  • Historical Examples of wrested

  • His was a commanding physique, hard as the grim plains from which he wrested his living.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • A man leaped in, and, in the struggle, Mr. Montenero’s gun was wrested from him.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 9 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • One would have thought that I had wrested his very soul from him.

    The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Complete

    Anthony Hamilton

  • Had he not been present, who knows that it would not have been wrested from him?

    The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol. 1 (of 2)

    Harry Furniss

  • But in 1540 he wrested it from him, and regranted it to Robert, Earl of Sussex.

    Hampstead and Marylebone

    Geraldine Edith Mitton

  • British Dictionary definitions for wrested wrest verb (tr)

    1. to take or force away by violent pulling or twisting
    2. to seize forcibly by violent or unlawful means
    3. to obtain by laborious effort
    4. to distort in meaning, purpose, etc


    1. the act or an instance of wresting
    2. archaic a small key used to tune a piano or harp

    Derived Formswrester, nounWord Origin for wrest Old English wrǣstan; related to Old Norse reista. See writhe Word Origin and History for wrested wrest v.

    Old English wræstan “to twist, wrench,” from Proto-Germanic *wraistijanan (cf. Old Norse reista “to bend, twist”), derivative of *wrig-, *wreik- “to turn” (see wry). Meaning “to pull, detach” (something) is recorded from c.1300. Meaning “to take by force” (in reference to power, authority, etc.) is attested from early 15c. Related: Wrested; wresting.

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