Definition of wring in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Squeeze and twist (something) to force liquid from it.

    ‘she wrung the cloth out in the sink’
    • ‘The was a light knock on the door and Sister Nicci stood wringing out Cassandra's hair and shaking her hands then opened the door.’
    • ‘Debbie looked satisfied, and wrung out the dishcloth more cheerfully.’
    • ‘You had to watch every garment as it was wrung, in order that it did not wrap over the top roller and become entangled.’
    • ‘Gently wipe away all traces of the cleansing lotion with a flannel wrung out in hand-hot water, rinsing at least twice more in hot water.’
    • ‘He wrung out his cloth and began wiping spilled ale off the counter.’
    • ‘Blanch the spinach until wilted, then drain well, wringing thoroughly with your hands until it's dry.’
    • ‘She heard the sound of water being wrung from a cloth and felt its damp warmth pressed to her lip- and a searing stab of pain!’
    • ‘Next, dissolve some pure soap flakes in warm water and rub all over the furniture, paying careful attention to the soiled areas, with a towel wrung out in this soapy water.’
    • ‘The heart twists blood out the same way you'd wring a towel to get water out.’
    • ‘Gently wipe away all traces of the cleanser with a face washer wrung out in tepid water, rinsing at least twice more in warm water.’
    • ‘Prop maker Peter Greenwood found a real mangle so the dame can wring clothes in the panto's slapstick scenes.’
    • ‘Kou wrung out his wet clothes and set them over the side of the tub.’
    • ‘He lifted it out, wrung it, and pressed the cloth against his forehead.’
    • ‘We would walk off after each scene; literally wringing our shirts dry of sweat.’
    • ‘Then, over your eyes, place a soft, scented washcloth that has been wrung out in warm lavender water (two cups water with five drops lavender essential oil).’
    • ‘I wrung out a cold washrag, let it soak in the hot water as I brushed my hair, then braided it into a tight braid in the back of my head.’
    • ‘Victoria wrung out the washcloth into the basin and hung it on its peg.’
    • ‘Once the vat was emptied, the crowd of family and friends clapped and cheered and we were given strict instructions after changing not to wring the clothes out - for this would squeeze out the good that had been done.’
    • ‘So as the three of us dried off, wrung out our suits, dried our hair, and got dressed as we discussed Möbius, their eclectic original music, and their profound musicianship.’
    • ‘Ellianne watched her brother soak the linen, wring it and press it to her eyes.’
    twist, squeeze, screw, scrunch, knead, press, mangle
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    1. 1.1 Extract (liquid) by squeezing and twisting something.
      ‘I wrung out the excess water’
      • ‘Dampen a towel in the mixture and wring out all the excess moisture.’
      • ‘It took me about a year afterwards to wring out a tear.’
      • ‘Dampen with water and wring out all the excess moisture.’
      • ‘It was the sort of rain that resembled water being wrung out of a dishcloth - droplets the size of marbles and musty-smelling to boot.’
      • ‘Not only could fat be wrung out of the bread, there were dark foreign objects within its matrix, which upon further investigation turned out to be little globules of maple syrup.’
      • ‘Viney hypothesizes that as the raw liquid silk squeezes through the duct, water is wrung out of the protein and calcium is added.’
      • ‘It was a performance that could have wrung tears from a stone.’
      • ‘The dew will gather on the material, which can then be wrung out into a container.’
      • ‘I had to change my shirt when I got back to our place because you could have wrung the sweat out of the one I'd been wearing.’
      • ‘"Yeah, " I said, wringing more water out of my clothes.’
      • ‘We pull them out, rinse them in clean water and wring out the excess water.’
      • ‘I'll wring the last drop of blood out of it.’
      • ‘Yet Strauss manages to create an opera which wrings every dramatic drop from the text.’
      • ‘He found a nearby hotel, wrung the water from his clothes, and went to have a drink.’
      • ‘I wrung out the last bit of water in my dress over Lokre and he panted happily, his tail wagging.’
      • ‘Sitting up, I gather all my hair in my hand and wring out the water onto his lap.’
    2. 1.2 Break (an animal's neck) by twisting it forcibly.
      • ‘It took everything inside of him to keep from jumping over the table and wringing the man's neck.’
      • ‘I bellowed, lunging for Cousin Liam and wringing him around the neck.’
      • ‘Thus our instincts certainly cause us to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow, but we may be in no better a position than the chicken which unexpectedly has its neck wrung.’
      • ‘The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.’
      • ‘My stomach lurched as I threw myself at Roahin, doing anything I could to wring his scrawny, traitorous, lying, cheating little neck.’
      • ‘Her hands were starting to itch to wring both the town head's and Cody's necks.’
      • ‘Oh, he didn't know how bad I wanted to wring his neck!’
      • ‘Let's hope the two don't wring each other's necks during their stay together.’
      • ‘Back at the peg, its neck will be wrung to kill it.’
      • ‘The unfortunate chickens that were contaminated by the pigeon droppings we were forced to kill by wringing their necks.’
      • ‘It's operated by a centrifugal clutch and gives the buggy a far better top speed than a single geared model, and gives the engine a break from not wringing its own neck, trying to hit top speed with only one gear.’
      • ‘To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, stop wringing the hands that should wring his neck!’
      • ‘Phillip Chaussier, after all, was a friend - one whose neck she usually would have loved to wring, were she only tall enough to reach it - but a friend nevertheless.’
      • ‘Tobie shrieked, almost wringing her best friend's neck.’
      • ‘I expect him to break into a strangled stutter as I wring his neck, to beg for his life.’
      • ‘We've become so removed from the reality of obtaining our food supply that almost no one knows how to wring - or would dare to wring - a chicken's neck.’
      • ‘When the chicken is for Legba, you've got to wring its neck.’
      • ‘Part of me couldn't believe that Cleo would go through such methods just to steal off me, but the other part wanted to wring her scrawny little neck.’
      • ‘Then I find myself at Wal-Mart surrounded by screaming children whose chubby little necks I want to wring, and reality kicks in.’
      • ‘Doc's hands hung loose by his sides like fat geese with their necks wrung.’
    3. 1.3 Squeeze (someone's hand) tightly, especially with sincere emotion.
      • ‘Ice let go of his hand to wring hers rather nervously,’
      • ‘Her hands, which had formerly been clasped in her lap, were now being wrung nervously, her fingers gripping and squeezing those of the other hand and vice-versa.’
    4. 1.4 Obtain (something) with difficulty or effort.
      ‘few concessions were wrung from the government’
      • ‘This makes the unions more effective at actually wringing concessions out of companies, since it effectively removes the competitive pressures on them.’
      • ‘He actually bends over the steering wheel as if to wring an extra couple of miles out of the car.’
      • ‘Despite her best efforts, Isobel could rarely wring a smile out of Keenan.’
      • ‘The congressman also pressed Ergen on whether the combined company would wring price concessions from programmers.’
      • ‘More-realistic animated characters take more time to create, and efficiencies have to be wrung from elsewhere in production.’
      • ‘Guiseley wrung one final effort out of Henry before the final whistle and all in all a draw was a fair result.’
      • ‘I was amazed at how pristine a picture the studio was able to wring from the thirty year-old print.’
      • ‘Dylan's vocals are quite muscular; he attacks the lyrics like a boxer, shouting, growling and bending words in effort to wring new meanings from them.’
      • ‘Specifically it refers to peasants displaced from farmland when it gets increasingly difficult for them to wring a decent livelihood from the soil, which faces steady encroachment as a result of urban development.’
      • ‘For those readers who are accustomed to more detailed explications, the chapters will read less as case studies and more as efforts to wring from Freud's original texts some interpretive potential.’
      • ‘Any successful legal effort to wring such material from a newsroom is potentially worrisome, because it establishes a precedent.’
      • ‘That's what she got, getting high marks from critics for wringing every ounce of effort from her team.’
      • ‘Scientists now fear the bruising experience will make it more difficult to wring cash out of the government for similar ambitious projects in the future.’
      • ‘But protesters have wrung a promise from city planning bosses that they will look into making Rockstone Lane a conservation area so future development is more in keeping with the road.’
      • ‘This quarter, companies are still wringing every bit of productivity they can from their existing workforces.’
      • ‘In the month following the uprising, the political opposition wrung more concessions from the oppressive regime than they had in the previous 50 years.’
      • ‘In the unprecedented action, contractors and workers joined forces to wring improvements out of four companies benefiting from the state's home building boom.’
      • ‘But campaigners argue that such promises are easily broken when private companies try to wring more profits from such projects.’
      • ‘Additionally, while my parks all turn a handsome profit, I don't spend a lot of time playing with the cost of the hamburgers at the concession stands to wring out every last dime.’
      • ‘He wrung the script, page by page from Thomas over seven years.’
      extract, elicit, force, coerce, exact, extort, wrest, wrench, screw, squeeze, milk
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    5. 1.5 Cause pain or distress to.
      ‘the letter must have wrung her heart’
      • ‘My heart felt like it was being wrung every time he spoke.’
      • ‘May watched the mer-woman helplessly, wrung with pity and cursing her terrible fate.’
      • ‘He wrote an eloquent one, sitting at the computer on the far end of the living room as the family talked, gasping out sobs as he wrote that wrung my heart.’
      • ‘I stared at the picture, something new and foreign squeezing my heart and wringing it dry.’
      • ‘The narrative material is obviously shaped in order to wring the audience's melodramatic heart.’
      • ‘The reason I wrote and posted this chapter, even though it wrung at my heart while I did so, was because writing - in any form - makes me feel better.’
      rend, tear at, harrow, pierce, stab, wound, lacerate, rack
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  • An act of squeezing or twisting something.

    • ‘Most of all I like that you can roll it up in wet clothing, give it a wring, and it removes maybe 50% of the water before hanging the clothes to dry.’
    • ‘Do you go steady with the brush for very long before you give it a wring?’
    • ‘I rinse my brush in hot water, warm water and then give it a slight "wring".’


  • wring one's hands

    • Clasp and twist one's hands together as a gesture of great distress, especially when one is powerless to change the situation.

      • ‘Most of the passengers had moved as far away from him as possible and one lady kept glancing at him and wringing her hands together.’
      • ‘Still, I'm perfectly willing to spend the first few days of the month wringing my hands over the situation.’
      • ‘Angelos glimpsed at Evelyn, who was suddenly looking nervous as she wrung her hands together and intently stared at the yellowing linoleum flooring.’
      • ‘Bernie wrung his hands together nervously as he sat at Duncan's desk.’
      • ‘I wrung my hands together and buried my face into my hands.’
      • ‘She wrung her hands together as she struggled with how to announce the news.’
      • ‘She wrung her own tiny hands, peering up and down the street for any more sign of the shiny officers.’
      • ‘She wrung her hands together while she nervously scanned the room for Devin.’
      • ‘This needs real leadership from the international community to avoid a situation where everyone's just wringing their hands and watching the situation get worse and worse.’
      • ‘He was on the verge of tears, and he wrung his hands together worriedly.’


Old English wringan (verb), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch wringen, also to wrong.