Definition of wring in English:



  • 1Squeeze and twist (something) to force liquid from it.

    ‘she wrung the cloth out in the sink’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He wrung out his cloth and began wiping spilled ale off the counter.’
    • ‘We would walk off after each scene; literally wringing our shirts dry of sweat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He lifted it out, wrung it, and pressed the cloth against his forehead.’
    • ‘The heart twists blood out the same way you'd wring a towel to get water out.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Victoria wrung out the washcloth into the basin and hung it on its peg.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You had to watch every garment as it was wrung, in order that it did not wrap over the top roller and become entangled.’
    • ‘Blanch the spinach until wilted, then drain well, wringing thoroughly with your hands until it's dry.’
    • ‘Prop maker Peter Greenwood found a real mangle so the dame can wring clothes in the panto's slapstick scenes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Debbie looked satisfied, and wrung out the dishcloth more cheerfully.’
    • ‘Kou wrung out his wet clothes and set them over the side of the tub.’
    • ‘Ellianne watched her brother soak the linen, wring it and press it to her eyes.’
    twist, squeeze, screw, scrunch, knead, press, mangle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial]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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘"Yeah, " I said, wringing more water out of my clothes.’
      • ‘The dew will gather on the material, which can then be wrung out into a container.’
      • ‘Viney hypothesizes that as the raw liquid silk squeezes through the duct, water is wrung out of the protein and calcium is added.’
      • ‘I wrung out the last bit of water in my dress over Lokre and he panted happily, his tail wagging.’
      • ‘Dampen with water and wring out all the excess moisture.’
      • ‘It took me about a year afterwards to wring out a tear.’
      • ‘He found a nearby hotel, wrung the water from his clothes, and went to have a drink.’
      • ‘I'll wring the last drop of blood out of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We pull them out, rinse them in clean water and wring out the excess water.’
      • ‘Sitting up, I gather all my hair in my hand and wring out the water onto his lap.’
      • ‘It was a performance that could have wrung tears from a stone.’
      • ‘Yet Strauss manages to create an opera which wrings every dramatic drop from the text.’
    2. 1.2Squeeze (someone's hand) tightly, especially with sincere emotion.
      ‘he fervently wrung Rose's hand’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3[with object and adverbial]Obtain (something) with difficulty or effort.
      ‘few concessions were wrung from the government’
      • ‘That's what she got, getting high marks from critics for wringing every ounce of effort from her team.’
      • ‘This makes the unions more effective at actually wringing concessions out of companies, since it effectively removes the competitive pressures on them.’
      • ‘But campaigners argue that such promises are easily broken when private companies try to wring more profits from such projects.’
      • ‘He actually bends over the steering wheel as if to wring an extra couple of miles out of the car.’
      • ‘In the unprecedented action, contractors and workers joined forces to wring improvements out of four companies benefiting from the state's home building boom.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Any successful legal effort to wring such material from a newsroom is potentially worrisome, because it establishes a precedent.’
      • ‘Despite her best efforts, Isobel could rarely wring a smile out of Keenan.’
      • ‘He wrung the script, page by page from Thomas over seven years.’
      • ‘This quarter, companies are still wringing every bit of productivity they can from their existing workforces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The congressman also pressed Ergen on whether the combined company would wring price concessions from programmers.’
      • ‘In the month following the uprising, the political opposition wrung more concessions from the oppressive regime than they had in the previous 50 years.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘More-realistic animated characters take more time to create, and efficiencies have to be wrung from elsewhere in production.’
      extract, elicit, force, coerce, exact, extort, wrest, wrench, screw, squeeze, milk
      View synonyms
  • 2Break (an animal's neck) by twisting it forcibly.

    ‘the chicken shrieked as one of the women wrung its neck’
    humorous ‘I'll wring her neck when I lay hands on her’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Doc's hands hung loose by his sides like fat geese with their necks 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.’
    • ‘Back at the peg, its neck will be wrung to kill it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then I find myself at Wal-Mart surrounded by screaming children whose chubby little necks I want to wring, and reality kicks in.’
    • ‘Her hands were starting to itch to wring both the town head's and Cody's necks.’
    • ‘My stomach lurched as I threw myself at Roahin, doing anything I could to wring his scrawny, traitorous, lying, cheating little 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.’
    • ‘To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, stop wringing the hands that should wring his neck!’
    • ‘It took everything inside of him to keep from jumping over the table and wringing the man's neck.’
    • ‘When the chicken is for Legba, you've got to wring its 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.’
    • ‘Oh, he didn't know how bad I wanted to wring his neck!’
    • ‘The unfortunate chickens that were contaminated by the pigeon droppings we were forced to kill by wringing their necks.’
    • ‘Let's hope the two don't wring each other's necks during their stay together.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I bellowed, lunging for Cousin Liam and wringing him around the neck.’
  • 3Cause pain or distress to.

    ‘the letter must have wrung her heart’
    • ‘My heart felt like it was being wrung every time he spoke.’
    • ‘The narrative material is obviously shaped in order to wring the audience's melodramatic heart.’
    • ‘I stared at the picture, something new and foreign squeezing my heart and wringing it dry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms


  • [in singular] 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.

      ‘she was wringing her hands in agitation’
      ‘there was little they could do about it except wring their hands’
      • ‘Still, I'm perfectly willing to spend the first few days of the month wringing my hands over the situation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She wrung her own tiny hands, peering up and down the street for any more sign of the shiny officers.’
      • ‘Bernie wrung his hands together nervously as he sat at Duncan's desk.’
      • ‘She wrung her hands together as she struggled with how to announce the news.’
      • ‘I wrung my hands together and buried my face into my hands.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Angelos glimpsed at Evelyn, who was suddenly looking nervous as she wrung her hands together and intently stared at the yellowing linoleum flooring.’
      • ‘He was on the verge of tears, and he wrung his hands together worriedly.’
      • ‘She wrung her hands together while she nervously scanned the room for Devin.’


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