\ ˈskwərm \
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 \ 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

The Liverpool goalkeeper allowed Bale’s shot to squirm through his hands into the net in the 83rd. Rob Harris, BostonGlobe.com, "Real Madrid tops Liverpool to win third straight Champions League title," 26 May 2018 The girls, one of whom sat on her mother’s lap, squirmed and played a pat-a-cake-like game during the hearing. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "El Chapo’s Lawyers Cite Traffic in Bid to Move Trial," 26 June 2018 The mother, 79, sits, sometimes squirming in discomfort, as her family describes her case: years of abdominal pain, anxiety, lethargy, poor sleep, low appetite, hallucinations. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Many doctors are wary of medical marijuana. And Jeff Sessions hasn’t helped.," 2 Feb. 2018 Patients squirmed on desks and on the floor as volunteers inserted IVs and bandaged wounds. Joshua Partlow, chicagotribune.com, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 Coming on the heels of a testy NATO summit, the sight of the American president nodding along would make his nominal allies squirm. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 For starters, the Kanken’s squat 16-liter body is small enough to stay out of the way of a squirming infant when crammed into the tiny changing space of a public bathroom. Joe Jackson, Outside Online, "The Best Outdoor Gear for Babies (and Their Dads)," 15 June 2018 The summer, of course, is a different story—that can make management squirm a little. Albert Breer, SI.com, "For Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, It’s Time to Compete Again," 11 June 2018 Or writhes on the ground, squirming as if his organs are shutting down and his capacity for normal function has left him. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "For all his talent, Neymar is an embarrassment to soccer," 2 July 2018

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

18 Sep 2018

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 \
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

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