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Related to wrenching: gut wrenching
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left to right: ratcheting box, adjustable, and open end wrenches


1. Any of various hand or power tools, often having fixed or adjustable jaws, used for gripping, turning, or twisting objects such as nuts, bolts, or pipes, typically at an angle perpendicular to the object's axis.
2. A sudden, forcible twist, turn, or pull: gave the steering wheel a wrench.
3. An injury produced by twisting or straining: The fall gave my ankle a wrench.
4. A sudden feeling of compassion, sorrow, or anguish, or an act that causes such feeling: "Bidding goodbye to Buss was a wrench" (Edna O'Brien).
5. A distortion in the original form or meaning of something written or spoken; a twisted interpretation.
v. wrenched, wrench·ing, wrench·es
a. To twist, turn, or pull suddenly and forcibly: wrenched the door open.
b. To twist and sprain: I wrenched my knee.
c. To turn using a wrench: wrenched the nut onto the bolt.
a. To move, extract, or force free by twisting, turning, or pulling forcibly: wrenched the nail out of the board.
b. To free (oneself or a body part) by twisting, turning, or pulling: wrenched his arm from the thug's grasp.
3. To upset the feelings or emotions of; distress: Grief wrenched her heart.
4. To interpret unreasonably or inaccurately; distort: wrenched the text to prove her point.
1. To give a twist, turn, or pull: wrenched at the window trying to open it.
2. To cause distress: The memory wrenched at his conscience.

[From Middle English wrenchen, to twist, from Old English wrencan; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

wrench′ing·ly adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.wrenching - causing great physical or mental suffering; "a wrenching pain"
painful - causing physical or psychological pain; "worked with painful slowness"
References in classic literature ?
The sustained murderous sound ran along the deck, and the wrenching at the bars ceased.
It resembled that perpendicular seam sometimes made in the straight, lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning tearingly darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, peels and grooves out the bark from top to bottom, ere running off into the soil, leaving the tree still greenly alive, but branded.
to 3/4 in., but that's good enough for most wrenching jobs.