tr.v. clenched, clench·ing, clench·es
1. To close tightly: clench one's teeth; clenched my fists in anger.
2. To grasp or grip tightly: clenched the steering wheel.
3. To clinch (a bolt, for example).
1. A tight grip or grasp.
2. Something, such as a mechanical device, that clenches or holds fast.
[Middle English clenchen, from Old English -clencan (in beclencan, to hold fast).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.