Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


She stood looking down, twisting her ring around her finger.

And so he did, twisting it up and setting it to the flame of the candle.

She had one end of the shawl between her fingers and was twisting it aimlessly.

Especially when he trips you, the minister's son, up, about twisting the Bible.

"I—I won't do it again," she faltered, twisting her hands together.

"That's what he said," Duncan answered, twisting his brows whimsically.

He, stupefied, watched her trotting to and fro, twisting about and singing as she went.

And, by twisting herself about in front of a looking-glass, she ended by catching a glimpse of it.

"The cats 'ave been in that laylock," he replied, twisting off a broken branch.

"I see," said the doctor, looking grave and twisting his face this way and that.


mid-14c., "flat part of a hinge," probably from Old English -twist (in mæsttwist "mast rope, stay;" candeltwist "wick"), from Proto-Germanic *twis-, from root of two. Original senses suggest "dividing in two" (cf. cognate Old Norse tvistra "to divide, separate," Gothic twis- "in two, asunder," Dutch twist, German zwist "quarrel, discord," though these senes have no equivalent in English), but later ones are of "combining two into one," hence the original sense of the word may be "rope made of two strands."

Meaning "thread or cord composed of two or more fibers" is recorded from 1550s. Meaning "act or action of turning on an axis" is attested from 1570s. Sense of "beverage consisting of two or more liquors" is first attested c.1700. Meaning "thick cord of tobacco" is from 1791. Meaning "curled piece of lemon, etc., used to flavor a drink" is recorded from 1958. Sense of "unexpected plot development" is from 1941.

The popular rock 'n' roll dance craze is from 1961, but twist was used to describe popular dances in 1894 and again in the 1920s. To get one's knickers in a twist "be unduly agitated" is British slang first attested 1971.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.