\ ˈflinch How to pronounce flinch (audio) \
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 My goals are always temporary: Savor this, try not to flinch, notice the sun shining today. Hannah Grieco, chicagotribune.com, "They rage, and I struggle to help: What it’s like parenting children with mental illness," 18 Nov. 2019 Along the way this team will have proved Stoops’ directive to never flinch when adversity hits has ingrained itself as the defining trait of the program. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "A never-give-up mentality has Kentucky football on the verge of bowl eligibility yet again," 17 Nov. 2019 My goals are always temporary: Savor this, try not to flinch, notice the sun shining today. Hannah Grieco, Washington Post, "They rage, and I struggle to help: What it’s like parenting children with mental illness," 14 Nov. 2019 One of the Lord God, might flinch at staring the manner of his death full in the face. Tom Holland, Time, "The Crucifixion Took on New Religious Meaning in the Centuries After the Death of Jesus. Here's What Changed," 29 Oct. 2019 Seconds before the officers fired their weapons, Rodriguez flashed the pistol causing the officers to visibly flinch in the body camera footage. James Herrera, The Mercury News, "Monterey County DA finds officers acted in defense of others, selves in killing woman," 21 Sep. 2019 When babies reach out a hand grasping toward his face, Caesar doesn’t flinch. oregonlive, "Caesar the No Drama Llama is Oregon’s celebrity camelid (Video)," 23 Dec. 2019 And when Cleveland quickly whittled the deficit to 12 and began to turn a breezy night into a concern, Walker did not flinch when his number was called once more. BostonGlobe.com, "In the locker room afterward, Celtics coach Brad Stevens condensed the game to that small slice and used it a teaching moment. He told his players that if they want to be special, they should try to be like Kemba.," 11 Dec. 2019 Yet, with only a performance pad upgrade (same as my Tesla), the brakes on my $25,000 Civic never flinched around the demanding 3.5-mile COTA course. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "The racy Honda Civic Si just wants to have fun (auto review)," 7 Dec. 2019

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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Learn More about flinch

Time Traveler for flinch

Time Traveler

The first known use of flinch was in 1578

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Statistics for flinch

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flinch.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flinch. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for flinch


How to pronounce flinch (audio)

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 How to pronounce flinch (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flinch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flinch

Spanish Central: Translation of flinch

Nglish: Translation of flinch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flinch for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flinch

What made you want to look up flinch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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