1. Trick; deceit; fraud; stratagem. His wily wrenches thou ne mayst not flee. (Chaucer)
2. A violent twist, or a pull with twisting. He wringeth them such a wrench. (Skelton) The injurious effect upon biographic literature of all such wrenches to the truth, is diffused everywhere. (De Quincey)
3. A sprain; an injury by twisting, as in a joint.
4. Means; contrivance.
5. An instrument, often a simple bar or lever with jaws or an angular orifice either at the end or between the ends, for exerting a twisting strain, as in turning bolts, nuts, screw taps, etc.; a screw key. Many wrenches have adjustable jaws for grasping nuts, etc, of different sizes.
6. (Science: mechanics) The system made up of a force and a couple of forces in a plane perpendicular to that force. Any number of forces acting at any points upon a rigid body may be compounded so as to be equivalent to a wrench. Carriage wrench, a wrench adapted for removing or tightening the nuts that confine the wheels on the axles, or for turning the other nuts or bolts of a carriage or wagon. Monkey wrench. See Monkey. Wrench hammer, a wrench with the end shaped so as to admit of being used as a hammer.
Origin: OE. Wrench deceit, AS. Wrenc deceit, a twisting; akin to G. Rank intrigue, crookedness, renken to bend, twist, and E. Wring. See Wring, and cf. Ranch.