tr.v. wrest·ed, wrest·ing, wrests
1. To obtain or remove by pulling with twisting movements: wrested the book out of his hands.
2. To take possession of forcefully; seize or usurp: wrested the islands from the settlers; wrested power from the monarchy.
3. To gain or extract with persistent effort; wring: wrested concessions from their opponents.
A small tuning key for the wrest pins of a stringed instrument.
[Middle English wresten, from Old English wrǣstan, to twist; see wer-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.