Wrench and spanner

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Wrench is the North American term for a tool used to grip and adjust nuts and bolts. Wrench may also be used as a verb to mean to violently twist or pull, and as a noun to mean a violent twist or pull. Wrench comes from the Old English word wrenc, which means a twisting, a trick. Wrench is first used to refer to the tool in 1794. The plural of wrench is wrenches.

Spanner is the British term for a tool used to grip and adjust nuts and bolts. Spanner comes from the late eighteenth century German word spannen, which means draw tight.


Now, with the overwhelming popularity of carbon, a torque wrench is just as essential to high-end bikes as a shock pump is to full suspension bikes. (Canadian Cycling Magazine)

I have, in fact, a little wrench I carry with me that I snitched from my husband’s toolbox (he doesn’t use this particular one much, so he didn’t mind). (The Circleville Herald)

At Road America, the students will compete for the BUILD Cup in which organizers will throw a wrench into the bike and the students will have to identify and fix the problem. (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

The England’s Rose in Thame was held up by a man brandishing a large spanner, during an incident which police are linking with two other robberies in the area. (The Bucks Herald)

The terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in the border state of Punjab which started on January 2 (the siege lasted until January 5) have put a spanner in the works as far as India-Pakistan ties are concerned. (The Jerusalem Post)

South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), the country’s largest coal producing company and the most profitable subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL), is likely to lose its flagship position to Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) after a recent order by the green panel put a spanner in crucial expansion plans. (The Business Standard)