Definition of cringe in English:


Line breaks: cringe
Pronunciation: /krɪn(d)ʒ

verb (cringes, cringing, cringed)

[no object]
1Bend one’s head and body in fear or apprehension or in a servile manner: he cringed away from the blow (as adjective cringing) we are surrounded by cringing yes-men and sycophants
More example sentences
  • The boy cringed away but remained defiant, his anger driving the fear out of him.
  • He cringed away from Arun, eyes wide, then blinked and appeared to recognize the trapper.
  • When I did not, his hands tightened around my mouth and arm until I cringed away in pain.
cower, shrink, draw back, pull back, recoil, start, shy (away), wince, flinch, blench, blanch, dodge, duck, crouch, shudder, shake, tremble, quiver, quail, quake; get cold feetkowtow, bow and scrape, grovel, creep, crawl, toady, fawn, truckle, cower; be servile towards, be sycophantic towards, dance attendance on, ingratiate oneself with, curry favour with; flatter, woo, pay court to, get round
informal suck up to, make up to, lick someone's boots, be all over, fall all over, sweet-talk, soft-soap
North Americanbrown-nose
archaic blandish
1.1Experience an inward shiver of embarrassment or disgust: I cringed at the fellow’s stupidity
More example sentences
  • I could hear Beth snigger in the background and cringed at how embarrassing this was.
  • The session then continued without the interpreter, although inwardly I cringed at how stupid I must have looked.
  • Sarah inwardly cringed at the thought of how many people would approach them.
wince, squirm, blush, flush, go red; feel embarrassed, feel ashamed, feel sheepish, feel mortified, wince with embarrassment


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An act of cringing.
More example sentences
  • The chuckle turned into a cringe as I swung a little, due to the movement caused by my laughter.
  • Genevan felt a strange cringe in his stomach at the sight of her.
  • Pierre gave a small cringe as Marge turned from fixing the table with mild surprise.


Middle English crenge, crenche, related to Old English cringan, crincan 'bend, yield, fall in battle', of Germanic origin and related to Dutch krengen 'heel over' and German krank 'sick', also to crank1.



More example sentences
  • Runner-up in the list of Christmas cringers was There's No-one Quite Like Grandma by St Winifred's School Choir.
  • The carpers and cringers invariably compare Holyrood with Westminster.
  • Watching him throw an embarrassingly long fit about the creative direction of the movie and calling a female producer a ‘smart girl ‘is a cringer.’

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