Definition of clench in US English:

clench

verb

  • 1(with reference to the fingers or hand) close into a tight ball, especially when feeling extreme anger.

    with object ‘she clenched her fists, struggling for control’
    no object ‘John's right hand clenched into a fist’
    • ‘She watched Hecate with bated breath, her hands clenched into tight fists.’
    • ‘Tahr lurched back until she was almost at the edge of the arena, her left hand clenched into a fist and tucked under her right arm.’
    • ‘The slender fingers with long nails clenched into tightly squeezed fists, her pale hands starting to turn red.’
    • ‘His fists clenched tighter than they ever had, his arms clung close to his stomach in agony.’
    • ‘His hands clenched into fists by his side, annoyed by yet another lecture.’
    • ‘He let out a small whimper but stood his ground, hands clenched into shaking fists.’
    • ‘Within hours her hands, previously clenched into fists, had begun to open.’
    • ‘He wasn't at all surprised to see that her hands had been clenched into fists.’
    • ‘His face twisted into furry and his hands clenched into tight fists.’
    • ‘I can feel my fists clenching into tight balls at my side.’
    • ‘Kathleen's weak fingers that Mrs. Noble had forced down clenched into a shaking fist as her nails dug into the rough skin of her palm.’
    • ‘His eyes danced with anger and he had his fingers clenched into a tight ball.’
    • ‘He was visibly nervous, with his hands clenched and his body rocking slowly from one side to the other.’
    • ‘She's all but quivering in anger, her green eyes bright with anger and her hands clenched into small fists.’
    • ‘His fists were clenched into tight balls by his side.’
    • ‘Rard had his hands clenched into fists and he was infuriated.’
    • ‘His left hand clenched into a fist, drawing it closer to his face.’
    • ‘Her fingers clenched into fists at her sides as the tears streamed down her face.’
    • ‘One hand clenched into an agitated fist, Lain rubbed her temples wearily with the other.’
    • ‘His fingers convulsively clenched into fists for an instant before he forced his tense muscles to relax.’
    • ‘Kane stood stock still for a moment, hands clenched into tight fists, shaking slightly in rage, before he carried on walking.’
    firm, fast, secure, fixed, clenched, clinched
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    1. 1.1 (with reference to the teeth) press or be pressed tightly together, especially with anger or determination or so as to suppress a strong emotion.
      with object ‘he clenched his teeth, fighting waves of nausea’
      no object ‘her teeth clenched in anger’
      • ‘He said furiously through teeth that were clenched tightly together.’
      • ‘That said, I am sure that they will be taking their soup through clenched teeth.’
      • ‘Altair situated himself in the saddle and let out a sigh through clenched teeth, taking the reins tightly.’
      • ‘Gripping her shoulders, Joyce clenched together her teeth and looked into Sibyl's eyes.’
      • ‘My teeth clenched together, and my heart found a very comfortable spot in the throat where it pounded like galloping horses.’
      • ‘Then he fell back on the bed and tossed about as though he was in the throes of a poison, muttering through clenched teeth.’
      • ‘Ilantar clenched his teeth in anger, but tried not to let his emotion show.’
      • ‘It's enough to leave you breathless - if you could forget the obsession with an air-giving hose clenched tightly between your teeth.’
      • ‘And she turned back, leaving the man on the street, her teeth clenched together.’
      • ‘Her lips were spread back from her teeth, which were clenched together.’
      • ‘My teeth clenched tightly, as I swung my head away from looking at him.’
      • ‘Unable to really listen to her, I merely nodded, teeth still clenched together in torment.’
      • ‘Jack the heroic doctor is tending to the terminally injured Marshal, who through clenched teeth is trying to tell him something about Kate.’
      • ‘He distorted his features to her secret terror, her teeth clenched together behind confused lips.’
      • ‘I could see that his teeth were clenched with suppressed emotion; tears or anger I couldn't tell.’
      • ‘My teeth clenched together and I couldn't help but frown.’
      • ‘His mouth closed again; his teeth clenched in anger and a willful battle against the tears threatening to build in his eyes.’
      • ‘Shumba gritted out through clenched teeth, his features dark and angry.’
      • ‘She clenched her teeth in anger, her eyes stinging with the sweat.’
      • ‘She ground out between her teeth, which were clenched together like twin traps of steel.’
      squeeze together, press together, clamp together, close tightly, shut tightly
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    2. 1.2with object Grasp (something) tightly, especially with the hands or between the teeth.
      ‘he clenched the steering wheel so hard that the car wobbled’
      • ‘Finally his hand rose above from the couch clenching a cell phone tightly as he dialed Scarlet right away.’
      • ‘Kara's eyes burn with angry tears, and she clenches the file folder tightly.’
      • ‘But her hands were definitely feeling another pair of hands, clenching her ankles so tightly they cut off the circulation.’
      • ‘Sarah asked bravely, her hands still firmly clenching Migoto's waist.’
      • ‘The attic steps creaked loudly every time Rayne stepped on one, and she frowned slightly as she clenched the banister tightly.’
      • ‘He grabbed onto the ledge of the lab table, clenched it tightly and braced his legs.’
      • ‘Joven shrieked angrily and grasped it, clenching it greedily between her long, trembling fingers.’
      • ‘I remember clenching the receipt tightly in my hands, almost as if I was ready to give it back.’
      • ‘Red stood at the bar, clenching the edge tightly.’
      • ‘But Scott clenches my hand tightly in his, as if not to lose me, and I can't.’
      • ‘Maxwell resumed his furious pacing, clenching the phone tightly, ‘Is he all right?’’
      • ‘He sat there in the saddle for a moment, immobile, clenching the reins tightly.’
      • ‘A small, black satchel lay over his left shoulder, and a 4-foot long wooden staff was clenched firmly in his right paw.’
      • ‘He crawled over to her side at once and picked up one of her hands, clenching it tightly in his grip.’
      • ‘I was bent over, gritting my teeth and clenching onto the table.’
      • ‘Sitting upright, his knuckles paled as he clenched the bedcover firmly.’
      • ‘I launched out of the room noisily and into the living room, clenching the phone tightly.’
      • ‘When the call was made and I had to go, I stood straight in front of the closed door, clenching the handkerchief firmly.’
      grip, grasp, grab, clutch, clamp, clasp, hold tightly, seize, press, squeeze, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, fasten one's hand on, hang on to
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    3. 1.3 (with reference to a muscular part of the body) tighten or contract sharply, especially with strong emotion.
      with object ‘my stomach was clenched in a knot’
      no object ‘her heart clenched in fear’
      • ‘Those thoughts continued, fear shot through Shanza so strongly that his stomach clenched in a knot and he went white with fright.’
      • ‘Her eyes were clenched firmly shut as her legs gave way and she slid down the airlock door onto the cold floor.’
      • ‘His jaw clenched, his muscles tightened, and his eyes dropped about a hundred degrees.’
      • ‘Joven turned slowly, her heart thudding and her stomach clenching.’
      • ‘My stomach clenches, and I take in the bold headline.’
      • ‘He rigidly walked forward, his jaw clenched as he fought with the nausea tightening his stomach.’
      • ‘Kagami's fists tightened and her jaw clenched at the gruesome scene.’
      • ‘Slowly he turned around, every muscle in his body tense, he jaw clenched.’
      • ‘The muscles along her stomach clenched, and her insides contracted with a searing pain.’
      • ‘She could feel her stomach beginning to clench up into knots.’
      • ‘His body is clenching from the pain and his mouth is drooling.’
      • ‘It felt like something was clenching my heart too tightly.’
      • ‘My body clenched in anticipation of the bullets that would rip through it.’
      • ‘Hope's stomach clenched nervously against the butterflies flitting about.’
      • ‘My face formed into a look of perplexity, and the fibers of my body clenched.’
      • ‘I nonchalantly leave Adrian in the living room and enter the kitchen, although my stomach is clenching with anxiety and apprehension.’
      • ‘Standing, I saw her muscles clench and Natalia inhaled sharply.’
      • ‘Sapphire's eyes looked towards the bodies and her heart clenched painfully once more.’
      • ‘His stomach clenched into a tight ball when he remembered what he was supposed to do.’
      • ‘Still, when she tried to open her eyes, her body clenched in protest.’

noun

  • A contraction or tightening of part of the body.

    ‘she saw the anger rise, saw the clench of his fists’
    • ‘Nobody knows what you're doing unless you tell them you're doing clenches.’
    • ‘The creases in her face deepened as his frown turned into a clench.’
    • ‘He feels a clench of chill around his heart, remembering Lex's rant earlier.’
    • ‘I looked away from Matt as I felt a clench in my chest.’
    • ‘There was a feeling in the young man's stomach, of hatred and sickness, and a horrible clench.’
    • ‘Darcy rushed out and I felt a clench in my stomach, hoping she wasn't talking about Scarlett.’
    • ‘They all felt a lump in their throats, a clench in their hearts, and an ache in their chests.’
    • ‘It had not helped, even with the burning clench of his muscles or the adrenaline coursing through his body.’
    • ‘Through the powerful clench in her teeth, she nodded, wincing every time her heart beat against the pressure on her forearm.’
    • ‘A forceful clench of her hands froze us together in a bowing sweep as the piece ended in a thundering crash of drums.’
    contraction, tightening, tensing, tension, constricting, cramp
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Origin

Old English (in the sense of clinch ‘fix securely’): of Germanic origin; related to cling.

Pronunciation

clench

/klen(t)SH//klɛn(t)ʃ/