General English

  • verb to wind something round something
  • verb to turn in different directions

General Science

  • verb to change the shape of something by bending or turning it, or to bend or turn into another shape
  • verb to wind something around something else


  • noun a disease of cereals and grasses which causes malformation of the leaves and stalks due to the growth of internal fungus. This may prevent the ear emerging from its sheath (Dilophospora alopecuri).


  • The distortion from a flat plane caused by the turning or winding of the edges of a board.


  • noun movement imparted to the ball by the bowler which makes it change direction after pitching; spin
    Citation ‘According as the axis of rotation … is horizontal or oblique, so it will have, upon reaching the ground, the bias, or “twist”, as it is called’ (Felix 1850)
  • verb to spin the ball, or (of the ball) to change direction after pitching as a result of spin
    Citation ‘For a Bowler to twist the Ball: when the ball goes out of a bowler’s hand he must endeavor to make it twist a little across, then after it hits the ground it will twist the same way as it rolls when it goes from the hand’ (Boxall 1800)


  • verb to hurt a joint by turning or bending it too much or the wrong way


  • noun a girl or attractive young woman. This term, used typically by underworld or working-class speakers, is a rare example of American rhyming slang, from ‘twist and twirl’: girl.


  • noun a painful wrench or pull in a wrist, ankle or another body part
  • noun a complete turn of the body around a vertical axis, e.g. in gymnastics or diving

Origin & History of “twist”

Twist appears to come ultimately from prehistoric Germanic base *twi- ‘double’, which also underlies English twice, twig, twin, etc. In Old English it is found only in compound words, denoting such things as ‘rope’ (presumably originally made from ‘two’ strands) and ‘forked objects’. It does not appear as an independent word until the 14th century, by which time its association with ‘rope’ had given it the sense ‘wrench, wind’.