wriggle

verb
wrig·​gle | \ ˈri-gəl \
wriggled; wriggling\ ˈri-​g(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of wriggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move the body or a bodily part to and fro with short writhing motions like a worm : squirm
2 : to move or advance by twisting and turning
3 : to extricate or insinuate oneself or reach a goal as if by wriggling

transitive verb

1 : to cause to move in short quick contortions
2 : to introduce, insinuate, or bring into a state or place by or as if by wriggling

wriggle

noun

Definition of wriggle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a short or quick writhing motion or contortion
2 : a formation or marking of sinuous design

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Other Words from wriggle

Verb

wriggly \ ˈri-​g(ə-​)lē \ adjective

Examples of wriggle in a Sentence

Verb

The children wriggled and squirmed in their chairs. She managed to wriggle free of her ropes. They wriggled out of their wet clothes. I had trouble getting the wriggling fish off my hook. The snake wriggled across the path and went underneath a bush. He was able to wriggle through the narrow opening.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But his plans were torn apart within minutes at the Luzhniki Stadium as Ronaldo wriggled free of the imposing Da Costa to bury an unstoppable header past a helpless Monir El Kajoui. Martyn Wood, chicagotribune.com, "Ronaldo again leads Portugal to victory against Morocco," 20 June 2018 The teepees tend to fall off easily as the baby's little legs wriggle around. Naomi Williamson, Woman's Day, "10 Things Never to Buy a New Mom," 23 July 2014 Who in their right mind would wriggle into stiff selvage denim and zero-stretch vintage 501s when leggings—which do so much more than hold me during downward dogs and spin classes—exist? Alexandra Ilyashov, Glamour, "A Case For Wearing Maternity Jeans When You’re Not Pregnant," 6 Dec. 2018 The man said he had been tied up with ropes at first but later, after learning to wriggle free, was restrained with increasingly larger chains on and off over six years. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Turpin sister's photos of shackled siblings draw gasps in court," 21 June 2018 In fact, hostilities continued up to the last hour to ensure that the Germans did not wriggle out of their armistice obligations, which were effectively terms of surrender. Brendan Simms, WSJ, "‘Peace at Last’ Review: Remembering Flanders Fields," 11 Nov. 2018 In the months ahead, expect CBS to wriggle and wrangle for ways to deliver at least some of these terms to Mr. Moonves, despite the results of a pending internal investigation into any misbehavior while he was employed at CBS. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "CBS and the Function of Severance," 11 Sep. 2018 The tail then continues to wriggle for several minutes. Dave Taft, New York Times, "The Creepy Magic of the Red-Backed Salamander," 2 May 2018 That was certainly true of the Greek crisis, when Athens tried to wriggle out of reform commitments made in return for a vast bailout and massive debt relief. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "Britain’s Brexit Dilemma: Should It Compromise, or Confront the EU?," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That description offers a little more wriggle room; Windows 10 might only have a plurality share of enterprise systems rather than the majority share Nadella claimed. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Half of enterprise machines run Windows 10, as Windows 7’s end of life looms," 25 Oct. 2018 It might be coated with compounds capable of making sperm wriggle in place, keeping them from inseminating a woman’s egg. Zoë Schlanger, Newsweek, "Plantibodies Could Pave the Road to Wellness," 15 Dec. 2014 The dancers, who double as performers and teachers, gyrate in a circle as the alpacas wriggle among them. John Clarke, WSJ, "Dancing Alpacas! Guard Alpacas! Party Alpacas! Breeders Find New Uses After Market Bust," 25 Mar. 2018 God- and state-fearing Although Christians are growing more numerous, the wriggle room allowed to them is shrinking. The Economist, "As China tightens rules on religion, unregistered churches wince," 15 Mar. 2018 Museums in China have barely any wriggle room to question the official line. The Economist, "Memories and hallucinationsThe Opium Wars still shape China’s view of the West," 16 Dec. 2017 On one hand, the country appears to be running out of financial wriggle room. The Economist, "How long can Venezuela avoid default?," 2 Nov. 2017 Through a series of plot wriggles, Grace has the opportunity to hang around in the Oval Office. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "What Was Will & Grace?," 27 Sep. 2017 If so, the Ducks will enter the meet -- June 7-10 at Hayward Field -- with wriggle room. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Despite mishaps, UO women still appear to be solid favorites: Oregon track & field rundown," 30 May 2017

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wriggle

Verb

Middle English, from or akin to Middle Low German wriggeln to wriggle; akin to Old English wrigian to turn — more at wry

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Learn More about wriggle

Dictionary Entries near wriggle

WRI

wrier

wriest

wriggle

wriggle out of

wriggler

wrigglingly

Statistics for wriggle

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wriggle

The first known use of wriggle was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for wriggle

wriggle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wriggle

: to twist from side to side with small quick movements like a worm

: to move forward by twisting and turning

wriggle

verb
wrig·​gle | \ ˈri-gəl \
wriggled; wriggling

Kids Definition of wriggle

1 : to twist or move like a worm : squirm, wiggle
2 : to advance by twisting and turning Her dog … would wriggle under the fence and run about …— Lois Lowry, Number the Stars

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More from Merriam-Webster on wriggle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wriggle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wriggle

Spanish Central: Translation of wriggle

Nglish: Translation of wriggle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wriggle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wriggle

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