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Synonym Chooser

How is the word flinch distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of flinch are blench, quail, recoil, shrink, and wince. While all these words mean "to draw back in fear or distaste," flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution.

faced her accusers without flinching

When can blench be used instead of flinch?

While in some cases nearly identical to flinch, blench implies fainthearted flinching.

stood their ground without blenching

When would quail be a good substitute for flinch?

The words quail and flinch are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear.

quailed before the apparition

In what contexts can recoil take the place of flinch?

In some situations, the words recoil and flinch are roughly equivalent. However, recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust.

recoiled at the suggestion of stealing

When might shrink be a better fit than flinch?

While the synonyms shrink and flinch are close in meaning, shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice.

shrank from the unpleasant truth

When is wince a more appropriate choice than flinch?

Although the words wince and flinch have much in common, wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (such as a start or recoiling).

winced in pain

Thesaurus Entries Near flinch

Cite this Entry

“Flinch.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/flinch. Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

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