verb \ˈkrinj\

: 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

intransitive verb
:  to draw in or contract one's muscles involuntarily (as from cold or pain)
:  to shrink in fear or servility
:  to behave in an excessively humble or servile way
:  to recoil in distaste <Americans cringed … at the use of a term now regarded as a slur — William Safire>
cring·er noun

Examples of CRINGE

  1. Many English teachers cringe when their students use the word ain't.
  2. I always cringe when I hear that song.
  3. Just the thought of eating broccoli makes me cringe.
  4. 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

fawn, toady, truckle, cringe, cower mean to behave abjectly before a superior. fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention <waiters fawning over a celebrity>. toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude <toadying to his boss>. truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior <truckling to a powerful lobbyist>. cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility <a cringing sycophant>. cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people <cowering before a bully>.



Definition of CRINGE

:  a cringing act; specifically :  a servile bow

First Known Use of CRINGE

CRINGE Defined for Kids


verb \ˈkrinj\

Definition of CRINGE for Kids

:  to shrink in fear :  cower <… when you see a dog cringe … You know somebody's been kicking at him. — Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh>
:  to show disgust or embarrassment at something <He cringed at the suggestion of eating liver.>


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