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flinch

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verb \ˈflinch\

Simple Definition of flinch

  • : to move suddenly because you are afraid of being hit or hurt

  • : to show fear : to hesitate from doing something unpleasant or dangerous

Full Definition of flinch

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to withdraw or shrink from or as if from pain :  wince; also :  to tense the muscles involuntarily in anticipation of discomfort

flinch noun
flinch·er noun

Examples of flinch

  1. He flinched when I tapped him on the shoulder.

  2. She met danger without flinching.

  3. The bill was much higher than expected, but he paid it without flinching.



Origin of flinch

Middle French flenchir to bend, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle High German lenken to bend, Old High German hlanca flank — more at lank


First Known Use: 1578

Synonym Discussion of flinch

recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail mean to draw back in fear or distaste. recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust <recoiled at the suggestion of stealing>. shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice <shrank from the unpleasant truth>. flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution <faced her accusers without flinching>. wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (as a start or recoiling) <winced in pain>. blench implies fainthearted flinching <stood their ground without blenching>. quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear <quailed before the apparition>.

Rhymes with flinch



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