- 1[transitive, intransitive] clench (something) when you clench your hands, teeth, etc., or when they clench, you press or squeeze them together tightly, usually showing that you are angry, determined or upset He clenched his fists in anger. Through clenched teeth she told him to leave. His jaw was clenched tight. His fists clenched slowly until his knuckles were white.
- 2[transitive] clench something (in/between something) to hold something tightly and firmly Her pen was clenched between her teeth. She had a gun clenched tightly in her hand. Word Origin Old English (in the sense of clinch ‘fix securely’): of Germanic origin; related to cling.Extra examples Her hands clenched involuntarily. She sat with hands clenched together in her lap. He had a wine glass clenched firmly in his hand. She sat at her desk, her pen clenched between her teeth.
BrE BrE//klentʃ//; NAmE NAmE//klentʃ//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they clench
BrE BrE//klentʃ//; NAmE NAmE//klentʃ//he / she / it clenches
BrE BrE//ˈklentʃɪz//; NAmE NAmE//ˈklentʃɪz//past simple clenched
BrE BrE//klentʃt//; NAmE NAmE//klentʃt//past participle clenched
BrE BrE//klentʃt//; NAmE NAmE//klentʃt//-ing form clenching
BrE BrE//ˈklentʃɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈklentʃɪŋ//