variants or less commonly cringe-y or cringy
: tending to cause one to cringe (as out of embarrassment or discomfort) : cringeworthy
By the end of the book Ford has run through at least eight motels/hotels/tepees … and five cringey references to "making love": it can wear a person out.Susannah Meadows
Not every moment of my freshman college experience has been cringey.Juliette Carey
Even though parts of Trudeau's speech may feel cringe-y to some Canadians, it's pretty understandable how an American audience could feel thirsty for a leader preaching "friendship" and "love."Allison Tierney
also : inclined to cringe
The things I've written that make me cringe … . I feel cringey whenever I read passionate old essays of mine. Elizabeth Gilbert

Examples of cringey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These scenes are cringey and absurd, but there’s something compelling about choosing the conditions of your own humiliation — and having some fun with it. Beatrice Loayza, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2023 Fem-tech brands (like pelvic floor trainer Elvie or smart breast pump Willow) have helped, filling what was once a white space and spurring conversation by creating products that address an oft-unspoken need and, just as importantly, aren’t cringey to buy. Fiorella Valdesolo, Vogue, 19 Jan. 2022 Despite a lifetime of rooting for abject (or near abject) teams—the New York Knicks, the Oakland A’s, the Buffalo Bills—there was always something cringey about rooting for the USMNT. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 29 Nov. 2022 And if hugging a tree or smelling the dirt feels unnatural and cringey to you, find a different way. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 22 Apr. 2022 Who's ready for another super-cringey resort vacation? Dalton Ross,, 10 Aug. 2021 The Mavericks, who have a super-cringey recent history of sexism within the organization, hired Jason Kidd, who pleaded guilty to a spousal abuse charge in 2001. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 June 2021 And this production is smart enough to downplay the occasional domestic-violence quip that today feels more cringey than jokey. Matthew J. Palm,, 8 May 2021 Bieber may have made one of the most cringey Christmas tunes of all time. Gena Kaufman, Glamour, 2 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cringey.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1986, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cringey was in 1986

Dictionary Entries Near cringey

Cite this Entry

“Cringey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!