\ ˈskwərm How to pronounce squirm (audio) \
squirmed; squirming; squirms

Definition of squirm

intransitive verb

: to twist about like a worm : fidget

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Other Words from squirm

squirm noun
squirmy \ ˈskwər-​mē How to pronounce squirmy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of squirm in a Sentence

The baby squirmed a lot when I tried to hold him. She squirmed under her father's angry stare. The children squirmed with delight. He tried to hold onto her but she squirmed free. The frog squirmed out of his hands. The gory details of the story had me squirming in my seat.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Dramatize your discomfort by squirming, backing away or moving your seat. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: Strangers yelled at me in the breakfast room, and I was embarrassed," 11 Sep. 2019 The ball was fed wide to Kevin De Bruyne, who headed into the centre for David Silva to flick on for the unmarked Sterling, whose effort from close range squirmed under the body of Alisson. SI.com, "Liverpool 1-1 Man City (4-5 Pens): Report, Ratings & Reaction as Citizens Secure Community Shield," 4 Aug. 2019 One of his favorite things to do is take novices out on the river and shepherd them through hooking their first carp; his Instagram feed is full of people proudly holding up their first wet, squirming trophy. Jesse Pearson, latimes.com, "Fly fishing for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River," 11 July 2019 Troopers and Hartford officers engaged the car in another brief pursuit around the apartment parking lot before and Freeman squirmed out of the driver-side window of the car and took off sprinting, police said. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "East Hartford man captured after reportedly kidnapping ex-girlfriend at gunpoint, leading state police on 130 mph pursuit, police say," 12 Sep. 2019 To gauge the bot's success, the researchers wanted to see whether the fingers could withstand the forces of the squirming animals. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Cool New Robot Can Grab Squishy Fish Without Hurting Them," 28 Aug. 2019 The ball is popped into the middle of the circle and the players push against each other and gain ground up the pitch until the ball squirms out of the scrum. SI.com, "5 Weird and Wonderful Laws From Other Sports That Should Be Implemented in Football," 31 July 2019 The song responsible for jolting his career single-handedly shook up the country music genre and caused some listeners to squirm at the thought of a country-rap single topping the Country Billboard charts. Mikeisha Daché Vaughn, Teen Vogue, "Lil Nas X Has Forever Changed Hip-Hop as an Out, Queer Artist," 30 July 2019 Their eyes on their teacher, a dozen preschoolers squirmed to claim their chance. Washington Post, "This German city had few foreigners. Then refugees changed it in some surprising ways.," 18 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squirm.' 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 squirm

circa 1691, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squirm

origin unknown

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Learn More about squirm

Statistics for squirm

Last Updated

16 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for squirm

The first known use of squirm was circa 1691

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More Definitions for squirm



English Language Learners Definition of squirm

: to make a lot of twisting movements because you are nervous, uncomfortable, bored, etc.


\ ˈskwərm How to pronounce squirm (audio) \
squirmed; squirming

Kids Definition of squirm

: to twist about because of nervousness or embarrassment or in an effort to move or escape … it was no use trying to squirm loose …— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot

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More from Merriam-Webster on squirm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for squirm

Spanish Central: Translation of squirm

Nglish: Translation of squirm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squirm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on squirm

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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