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A clenched fist.


From Middle English clenchen, from Old English clenċan (to clinch; hold fast), a variant of Old English clenġan (to adhere; remain), from Proto-Germanic *klangijaną, causative of *klinganą (to stick; adhere). Related to cling.


  • IPA(key): /klɛntʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛntʃ


clench (third-person singular simple present clenches, present participle clenching, simple past and past participle clenched) (transitive, intransitive)

  1. To grip or hold fast.
    • 1697, “(please specify the book number)”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 403869432:
      Clinch the pointed spear.
  2. To close tightly.
    He clenched his fist in anger.



Derived terms[edit]



clench (plural clenches)

  1. Tight grip.
  2. (engineering) A seal that is applied to formed thin-wall bushings.
  3. A local chapter of the Church of the SubGenius parody religion.
    • 1989, Ted Schultz, The Fringes of Reason, page 210:
      And perhaps most innovative of all, Drummond and Stang pushed for a policy of clench autonomy []
    • 2003, Peter Knight, Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, page 170:
      Every SubGenius clench is required to have a member who does not believe []
    • 2012, George D. Chryssides, Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements, page 95:
      Originality is encouraged, and some clenches have devised their own distinctive organizational names []
  4. (archaic) A pun



  • clench at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • clench in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.