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wring (one's) hands
To display one's worries about something but not act to address it. We must not just wring our hands about this famine. We must act to help those who are starving.
wring (one's) neck
To strangle someone. The phrase is used as a threat, but never refers to actually strangling someone. I'll wring your neck the next time you talk to me like that, you hear me? That's the second time this week he's eaten my lunch. I ought to wring his neck!
wring (something) out of (someone or something)
1. Literally, to squeeze or twist wet fabric in an attempt to dry it. Be sure to wring the excess water out of that blanket before you hang it on the clothesline.
2. By extension, to pressure or otherwise convince someone to do what one wants. That guy's easily intimidated, so I'm confident you'll be able to wring some details out of him.
wring something from somethingand wring something out of something
to remove liquid from something by squeezing or twisting. She wrung the water from the cloth and wiped up the rest of the spill. Alice wrung the water out of the washcloth.
wring something out
to squeeze or twist something dry of liquid. He wrung the rag out and wiped up more of the spilled milk. Liz wrung out the rag and wiped up more of the spilled milk.
wring something out of someone
to pressure someone into telling something. The police will wring the truth out of her. After a lot of questioning, they wrung the information out of Fred.
be wringing your hands
COMMON If someone is wringing their hands, they are expressing sadness or regret about a bad situation, but are not taking any action to deal with it. He accused the Government of wringing its hands and doing nothing as the country's jobless figures increased. Note: When someone behaves like this, you can call it hand-wringing or wringing of hands. Condolences and hand-wringing are not enough. I expect there'll be shock, horror and wringing of hands. Note: This expression is used to show disapproval. Note: If you wring something, you squeeze or twist it.
wring someone's neckINFORMAL
If you say that you would like to wring someone's neck you mean that you are very angry with them. I'll wring his neck if I catch him! I could wring her neck the way I'm feeling at the moment. Note: To wring something means to twist it and squeeze it.
wring someone's withersstir someone's emotions or conscience.
This phrase is taken from Hamlet. In the play-within-the-play scene, Hamlet remarks ironically that there is no need for King Claudius, his usurping uncle, to feel troubled by the plot, remarking: ‘let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung’. The withers are the bony ridge between the shoulders of a horse which is liable to be chafed by an ill-fitting saddle.
wring your handsshow great distress.
ˌwring your ˈhandstwist and rub your hands together because you are very worried, upset or anxious: He stood there, wringing his hands in despair. ♢ It’s no use just wringing our hands — we must do something. ▶ ˈhand-wringing noun: No amount of hand-wringing can change the situation.
ˌwring somebody’s ˈneck(spoken, informal) used as an expression of anger or as a threat: If I find the person who did this, I’ll wring his neck!
If you wring a bird’s neck, you twist it in order to kill the bird.
1. To extract some liquid by twisting and compressing something: I wrung the water from the cloth and laid it out to dry.
2. To obtain or extract some information by applying force or pressure to someone: My mother finally wrung the truth from us, and we told her everything.
1. To twist, squeeze, or compress something, especially so as to extract liquid: I wrung out the wet towel. Wring the clothes out before you hang them on the line.
2. To extract some liquid by twisting or compressing something: Wring out the suds from the dishcloth when you're done washing the dishes. She twisted her hair to wring the rain out of it.
3. To obtain or extract some information by applying force or pressure to someone; extort something from someone: We can wring out the story from him if we question him long enough. The prosecutor wrung the truth out of the reluctant witness.