wrest |rest| verb [ trans. ] forcibly pull (something) from a person's grasp : Leila tried to wrest her arm from his hold. take (something, esp. power or control) from someone or something else after considerable effort or difficulty : they wanted to allow people to wrest control of their lives from impersonal bureaucracies. archaic distort the meaning or interpretation of (something) to suit one's own interests or views : you appear convinced of my guilt, and wrest every reply I have made. noun archaic a key for tuning a harp or piano. ORIGIN Old English wr?stan [twist, tighten,] of Germanic origin; related to Danish vriste, also to wrist .