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Related to wrenching: gut wrenching
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Agonizing; extremely distressing, unpleasant, or emotionally disturbing; having a severe effect on one's feelings. What a gut-wrenching loss for the young athlete, who poured her heart and soul into this match. Kids today are so desensitized that images of violence their grandparents would have found gut-wrenching now barely even register a response.

put a (monkey) wrench in(to) the works

To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project. Primarily heard in US. We had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on us at the last minute really threw a wrench in the works! It'll really put a monkey wrench into the works if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project.
See also: put, work, wrench

throw a monkey wrench in the works

Fig. to cause problems for someone's plans. I don't want to throw a monkey wrench in the works, but have you checked your plans with a lawyer? When John suddenly refused to help us, he really threw a monkey wrench in the works.
See also: monkey, throw, work, wrench

wrench something from someone

to grab or twist something out of someone's grasp. The policeman wrenched the gun from Lefty's hand and called for his partner. Max wrenched the wallet from Jed's hand and fled with it.
See also: wrench

wrench something off (of) someone or something

 and wrench something off
to yank or twist something off someone or something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) He wrenched the shoes off the sleeping man and ran away. He wrenched off the catsup bottle cap.
See also: off, wrench

wrench something out of something

to yank or twist something out of something. The policeman wrenched the gun out of Lefty's hand and told Lefty to put his hands up. Tom wrenched the bone out of the dog's mouth and threw it away.
See also: of, out, wrench

throw a monkey wrench into something

to cause something to fail We keep trying to get together, but her crazy schedule keeps throwing a monkey wrench into our plans.
See also: monkey, throw, wrench

put/throw a spanner in the works

  (British & Australian) also put/throw a (monkey) wrench in the works (American)
to do something that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding We were hoping to get the project started in June but the funding was withdrawn so that rather threw a spanner in the works. The sudden withdrawal of the guest speaker really threw a monkey wrench in the works.
See also: put, spanner, work

throw a monkey wrench into

Sabotage or frustrate a project or plans, as in The boss threw a monkey wrench into our plans when he said we'd have to work Saturday. This transfer of industrial sabotage-that is, throwing a tool inside machinery-to other subjects dates from the early 1900s.
See also: monkey, throw, wrench

left-handed monkey wrench

n. a nonexistent tool. (see also sky hook.) Hand me the left-handed monkey wrench, huh?
See also: monkey, wrench


n. a mechanic. (Possibly from Mr. Goodwrench.) I gotta get my ride in and have a wrench look at the serpentine.
References in classic literature ?
Couldn't you say that without wrenching a man's limbs off his body?
He generally secures an equal number of syllables in each line, but he often merely counts them off on his fingers, wrenching the accents all awry, and often violently forcing the rimes as well.
But the man, shifting the club from right to left, coolly caught him by the under jaw, at the same time wrenching downward and backward.
Georgy got one, wrenching it off, having swarmed up the pole to the delight of the spectators, and sliding down with the rapidity of a fall of water.
He had screwed the gimlet into the circular butt, close to the edge, and now we were wrenching in opposite directions.
Now they came rushing through the jail, calling to each other in the vaulted passages; clashing the iron gates dividing yard from yard; beating at the doors of cells and wards; wrenching off bolts and locks and bars; tearing down the door-posts to get men out; endeavouring to drag them by main force through gaps and windows where a child could scarcely pass; whooping and yelling without a moment's rest; and running through the heat and flames as if they were cased in metal.
cried Sally, twitching a pinch of snuff out of her box, as spitefully as if she were in the very act of wrenching off the small servant's nose; 'she shall be safe enough from this time, I warrant you.
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