• WordNet 3.6
    • v wrest obtain by seizing forcibly or violently, also metaphorically "wrest the knife from his hands","wrest a meaning from the old text","wrest power from the old government"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

DeQuoco harpsichord: 17. Inscription on wrest plank DeQuoco harpsichord: 17. Inscription on wrest plank

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Wrest A key to tune a stringed instrument of music. "The minstrel . . . wore round his neck a silver chain, by which hung the wrest , or key, with which he tuned his harp."
    • Wrest A partition in a water wheel, by which the form of the buckets is determined.
    • Wrest Active or moving power.
    • Wrest The act of wresting; a wrench; a violent twist; hence, distortion; perversion.
    • Wrest To tune with a wrest, or key.
    • Wrest To turn from truth; to twist from its natural or proper use or meaning by violence; to pervert; to distort. "Wrest once the law to your authority.""Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor.""Their arts of wresting , corrupting, and false interpreting the holy text."
    • Wrest To turn; to twist; esp., to twist or extort by violence; to pull of force away by, or as if by, violent wringing or twisting. "The secret wrested from me.""Our country's cause,
      That drew our swords, now secret wrests them from our hand."
      "They instantly wrested the government out of the hands of Hastings."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n wrest The mold-board of a plow: originally its front portion. See turn-wrest plow (under plow).
    • wrest To twist or turn; especially, to deflect, as from the existing or normal state, character, course, or significance: now used chiefly of immaterial things.
    • wrest To remove, obtain, or bring by or as if by twisting or wringing; extract or pluck with. much effort; wring; wrench.
    • wrest To wrestle; contend; strive.
    • n wrest l A twist; a writhing.
    • n wrest A tortuous action; distortion; perversion; hence, a ruse; a stratagem. Compare wrench, n., 1.
    • n wrest An instrument of the wrench, screw-key, or spanner kind; specifically, a key or small wrench for tuning stringed musical instruments, as the harp or piano, by turning the pins to which the strings are fastened. See tuning-hammer, and tuning-key (under key).
    • n wrest The partition in an overshot wheel which determines the form of the buckets.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Wrest rest v.t, to twist from by force: to twist from truth or from its natural meaning
    • n Wrest violent pulling and twisting: distortion: an instrument, like a wrench, for tuning the piano, &c
    • ***


  • Thomas E. Lawrence
    Thomas E. Lawrence
    “There could be no honor in a sure success, but much might be wrested from a sure defeat.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. wresten, AS. wrstan,; akin to wr, a twisted band, and wrīn, to twist. See Writhe


In literature:

It is not willingly that we wrest from any man the lands that are his birthright.
"The Lord of Dynevor" by Evelyn Everett-Green
Though unarmed, he thought he might snatch or wrest a weapon from some one of the enemy.
"The American Baron" by James De Mille
I will wrest Zinaida Fyodorovna from you!
"The Lady With The Dog and Other Stories" by Anton Chekhov
He might even wrest Northumbria from the hold of her kings.
"A King's Comrade" by Charles Whistler
Finally Amy, pausing to wrest himself from the frantic clutches of a blackberry vine, raised his head and viewed Clint solemnly.
"Left Tackle Thayer" by Ralph Henry Barbour
Then Charlie made a fierce attempt to wrest himself free.
"The Tidal Wave and Other Stories" by Ethel May Dell
They were not, however, content, but aimed at wresting from the Portuguese almost the only trade which remained to them; viz.
"Robert Kerr's General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 18" by William Stevenson
While in the custody of an officer of the court the vessel was forcibly wrested from his control and put to sea.
"A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Volume IX." by Benjamin Harrison
Had her freedom already been wrested from her?
"The Lamp in the Desert" by Ethel M. Dell
In the days of Genghis Khan northern Asia was overrun and wrested from its aboriginal inhabitants.
"Overland through Asia; Pictures of Siberian, Chinese, and Tartar Life" by Thomas Wallace Knox

In poetry:

They wrest my words to mischief still,
Charge me with unknown faults;
Mischief doth all their counsels fill,
And malice all their thoughts.
"Psalm 56" by Isaac Watts
And canst thou of the Maker think in sooth
That of the Made He shall be found at fault,
And dream of wresting from Him hidden truth
By force or by assault?
"Honours -- Part II." by Jean Ingelow
'Twas the voice of pity, that asks a tear
For the mournful weeds her children wear;
That asks of Compassion's hand to wrest
The poignant thorn from Israel's breast.
"The Harp of Judah" by Caroline Fry
I would not wrest you from the Thracian boy
Who loves you and whose vows of love you love;
I ask but that you sit awhile with me
And let the blossom kiss you from above.
"Senex Ad Chloen" by Ethel Clifford
But should misfortune hovering nigh
Wrest from thy aching heart a sigh,
Or, with an aspect chill and drear,
Despondence draw the unbidden tear,
Oh, then, I'll weep with thee.
""He For God Only, She For God In Him."" by Caroline Howard Gilman
Would that I might hold the year.
Stay her in her rushing flight,
Loose her fingers from Time's wing,
Snatch a single day or night.
Win an hour more of dark.
Wrest an instant more of light.
"A Song Of Passing" by Ethel Clifford

In news:

Poised to wrest Ryder from Europe.
Apple Fails to Wrest Android Data From Motorola Mobility.
In Authors' Suit Against Libraries, an Attempt to Wrest Back Some Control Over Digitized Works.
Rebels Try To Wrest Control Of Zawiya From Gadhafi Troops.
Pianos Become the Teeth wrest screamo back from latter-day crapcore nonsense.
Obama Has Goal to Wrest a Deal in Climate Talks.
Google Aims to Wrest Display Ads From Yahoo.
Sony-Led Group Makes a Late Bid to Wrest MGM From Time Warner.
In the Chaos, Senate Dems May See One Last Opportunity to Wrest Schools From the Mayor.
MidSouthern Wresting Alliance (MSWA) will be at the gymnasium at Riverside Junior High School in Caraway Saturday, June 7.
Israel began building and expanding East Jerusalem in 1968, shortly after it wrested control of the area from Jordan.
Gator Wresting sign-ups slated.
Jim King Wresting Invitational .
Pianos Become the Teeth wrest screamo back from latter -day crapcore nonsense.
Via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc. USDA Secretary Vilsack wresting with ways to cut budget.

In science:

Lyman-α emission from star-forming galaxies is generally weaker in continuum-selected samples at lower redshifts, which typically have Wrest = 5 − 30 ˚A (e.g., Steidel et al. 1996), or even in absorption.
Three Lyman-alpha Emitters at z approx 6: Early GMOS/Gemini Data from the GLARE Project
Yukawa coupling has wrested control of binding from the Coulombic QCD potential.
Some Unfinished Thoughts on Strong Yukawa Couplings
The students wrest with these ideas for some time.
Interpretation of Electron Tunneling from Uncertainty Principle