Simple Definition of cringe
: to feel disgust or embarrassment and often to show this feeling by a movement of your face or body
: to make a sudden movement from fear of being hit or hurt
Full Definition of cringe
1 : to draw in or contract one's muscles involuntarily (as from cold or pain)
2 : to shrink in fear or servility
3 : to behave in an excessively humble or servile way
4 : to recoil in distaste <Americans cringed … at the use of a term now regarded as a slur — William Safire>
Examples of cringe
Many English teachers cringe when their students use the word “ain't.”
I always cringe when I hear that song.
Just the thought of eating broccoli makes me cringe.
The dog cringed at the noise.
Origin of cringe
Middle English crengen; akin to Old English cringan to yield, Middle High German krank weak
First Known Use: 13th century
Synonym Discussion of cringe
Definition of cringe
: a cringing act; specifically : a servile bow
First Known Use of cringe
CRINGE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cringe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).