Thesaurus

flinch

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of flinch

(Entry 1 of 2)

to draw back in fear, pain, or disgust
  • there are some patients who flinch at the mere sight of a needle

Synonyms for flinch

Words Related to flinch

Near Antonyms for flinch

flinch

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of flinch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 as in wince, squinch

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for flinch

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for flinch

2 as in revulsion, recoil

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for flinch

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for flinch

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About flinch

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

Learn More About flinch

Time Traveler for flinch

Time Traveler

The first known use of flinch was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Thesaurus Entries Near flinch

flimsy

flinch

flinched

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Flinch.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/flinch. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on flinch

Nglish: Translation of flinch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flinch for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!