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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To close tightly.
  • transitive verb To grasp or grip tightly.
  • transitive verb To clinch (a bolt, for example).
  • noun A tight grip or grasp.
  • noun Something, such as a mechanical device, that clenches or holds fast.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • . To nail or fasten.
  • To secure or fasten, as a nail, staple, or other metallic fastening, by beating down the point after it has been driven through something; rivet.
  • To bring together and set firmly, as the teeth; double up tightly, as the hands.
  • To grasp or seize firmly or convulsively; gripe.
  • Figuratively, to fix or secure by a finishing touch or blow; confirm, as an argument or an action, in some unanswerable or irresistible way; establish firmly.
  • Nautical, to calk slightly with oakum, in anticipation of foul weather.
  • To gripe.
  • To seize or gripe another, or one another, with a firm grasp or hold, as in wrestling: as, the men clenched.
  • To pun.
  • noun A catch; a grip; a persistent clutch.
  • noun That which holds fast or clenches; a clencher (or clincher); a holdfast.
  • noun Nautical, a mode of fastening large ropes, consisting of a half-hitch with the end stopped back to its part by seizings. The outer end of a hawser is bent by a clench to the ring of the anchor.
  • noun A pun or play on words.
  • noun A mode of securing a nail, staple, or the like, by turning over the point and hammering back into the wood the portion bent over.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • See clinch.

from , Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Tight grip.
  • noun engineering A seal that is applied to formed thin-wall bushings.
  • verb To squeeze; to grip or hold tightly.

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

  • verb hold in a tight grasp
  • noun a small slip noose made with seizing
  • noun the act of grasping
  • verb squeeze together tightly


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

[Middle English clenchen, from Old English -clencan (in beclencan, to hold fast).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English beclenċan, causative of clingan ("cling"). Compare stink and stench.


The word clench has been adopted in honor of Anika Davie.

Help support Wordnik by adopting your own word here.


  • By 9: 00 p.m., six corrections officers had strapped him down and you could see Muhammad kind of clench his fist a few times.

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  • "I kind of clench my teeth every time Paterson says people will leave," 💛said Edmund J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a conservative-leaning research group that has advocated for sharp cuts in spඣending to balance New York's budget.

  • It's really rare that I see something and it makes me clench my but🐽tcheeks so tight that I pull a butt muscle.

  • The inner fists clench, and the grin begins to grimace.

  • - Kimberly 3. You clench your nether regions just before a sneeze so yo🌄u don't pee.

  • It wasn't just the set of those jaws, which looked clenched in the way that jaws clench 🍷when someone is always used to getting their own way.

  • I wanted not to feel the clench in my guts every time the bills came due.

  • It wasn't just the set of those jaws, which looked clenched in the way that jaws clench when someone is a♑lways used to getting🉐 their own way.

  • The inner fists clench, and the grin begins to grimace.


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  • "'He that would make a pun would pick a pocket,' said Stephen, 'and that miserable quibble is not even a pun, but a vile clench.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 157

    February 20, 2008

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