\ ˈflinch \
flinched; flinching; flinches

Definition of flinch

intransitive verb

: to withdraw or shrink from or as if from pain : wince He flinched when he was presented with the car repair bill. also : to tense the muscles involuntarily in anticipation of discomfort I cannot help flinching when I hear the dentist's drill.

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Other Words from flinch

flinch noun
flincher noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 (such 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

Examples of flinch in a Sentence

He flinched when I tapped him on the shoulder. She met danger without flinching. The bill was much higher than expected, but he paid it without flinching.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Through all that suspense, Molinari never flinched. Doug Ferguson, Fox News, "Molinari survives wild day to win British Open," 22 July 2018 One man seems to flinch as the yellow hues of dawn break in the background. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "The Battle of Belleau Wood was brutal, deadly and forgotten. But it forged a new Marine Corps.," 31 May 2018 The United States, who had such trouble with Sadr from 2003 to 2008, might be expected to flinch at his embrace of the Iraqi Communist Party, and his growing political influence. Thanassis Cambanis, BostonGlobe.com, "How did Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr become a statesman? People just got used to him," 26 May 2018 These kinds of situations are made for Suter, who never flinches when given different assignments or disappointments. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lefty Brent Suter assumed unlikely hero role for Brewers, on the mound and at the plate," 8 May 2018 Reed never flinched through it all on a raucous afternoon at Augusta National, calmly rolling in a 3-foot par putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory. Doug Ferguson, Houston Chronicle, "Patrick Reed wins Masters for 1st major title," 8 Apr. 2018 On his left, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turns his head away from Trump and looks down at the dinner plate in front of him, while on his right, Hutchinson flinches, straightens up abruptly and casts her eyes toward the president. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "Pursed lips and glances to the floor: Watch Trump aides react to his attacks on Germany," 11 July 2018 Democrats screamed, but neither Mr. McConnell nor Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley flinched. Fred Barnes, WSJ, "Mitch McConnell Is the Master of Confirming Judges," 9 July 2018 Those who demand the glossy veneer of big brand luxury, may flinch at the bumpy roads leading to farms. Lauren Mowery, USA TODAY, "Costa Rican coffee, from rural farms to Starbucks' visitor center," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flinch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flinch

1578, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for flinch

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flinch

The first known use of flinch was in 1578

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More Definitions for flinch



English Language Learners 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


\ ˈflinch \
flinched; flinching

Kids Definition of flinch

: to draw back from or as if from pain or fear … Homily did not flinch as the great face came slowly closer.— Mary Norton, The Borrowers

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More from Merriam-Webster on flinch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flinch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flinch

Spanish Central: Translation of flinch

Nglish: Translation of flinch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flinch for Arabic Speakers

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