Intermediate+ Word of the Day: tweak

tweak (verb, noun) /twik/ LISTEN

Anja tweaked her dad's nose.

To tweak means ‘to pinch and pull with a jerk and twist‘ or ‘to pull the nose gently and with care.’ It also means ‘to adjust a little bit.’ As a noun, a tweak is a sharp twist or jerk, as well as the act of tweaking. Also, a tweak is a minor adjustment. Informally, and mostly in the US, to tweak also means ‘to get high on drugs,’ especially methamphetamines.

Example sentences

  • When we were kids, my brother used to tweak my ears to annoy me.
  • Mark gently tweaked the little girl's nose.
  • My essay is almost finished; I just need to tweak it a bit here and there.
  • Nancy grabbed the ear of the boy who had stolen her purse and gave it a painful tweak.
  • This is a good novel, but it still needs a few tweaks before we can accept it for publication.
  • Everyone at the party was tweaking.

Did you know?

Tweak is also a slang term for crystal meth. Example: “Gerry called his dealer to see if he had any tweak.”

Additional information

Don’t confuse tweak with twerk which is a sexually suggestive kind of dancing.

Other forms

tweaker (noun)


As a verb, tweak dates back to around the year 1600, and comes from the Middle English twikken (to pluck or pull), which in turn comes from the Old English twiccan (to pluck). The noun comes from the verb, and first appeared around the same time. Its origins are unknown, but investigators believe it is related to the verb twitch, which originated in the 12th century, and originally meant ‘to pull apart with a quick jerk.’

Tweak was suggested by Paola, from Switzwerland

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