Definition of flinch in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈflɪn(t)ʃ/


[no object]
1Make a quick, nervous movement of the face or body as an instinctive reaction to fear or pain: she flinched at the acidity in his voice he had faced death without flinching
More example sentences
  • Dawn flinched at the pain but attempted to ignore it.
  • He softly brushed over the gash in my face, I flinched at the pain.
  • I flinched at the unanticipated pain that surfaced suddenly.
wince, start, shy (away), recoil, shrink, pull back, back away, shy away, draw back, withdraw, blench, cringe, squirm, quiver, shudder, shiver, tremble, quake, shake, quail, cower, waver, falter, hesitate, get cold feet, blanch
1.1 (flinch from) Avoid doing or becoming involved in (something) through fear or anxiety: I rarely flinch from a fight when I’m sure of myself
More example sentences
  • He did not flinch from speaking his mind.
  • Campbell's loyalty to Blair has never wavered and he has never flinched from confronting the journalists or newspapers who dared to stand in the way of the New Labour experiment.
  • While a lot of people didn't mind doing the laundry, many flinched from ploughing through piles of ironing.
shrink, recoil, shy away, turn away, swerve, hang back, demur;
dodge, evade, avoid, duck, baulk at, jib at, quail at, fight shy of
informal boggle at


[in singular]
An act of flinching: ‘Don’t call me that,’ he said with a flinch
More example sentences
  • Even an alarm clock buzzing right beside her head or a horn blowing near her ear wouldn't make her twitch or cause even the slightest flinch.
  • He felt her hand clasp on top of his, but he didn't move his, not even a flinch as she touched.
  • She painlessly moves back and forth from fiddle to guitar, singing to whistling, without so much as a flinch.



Pronunciation: /ˈflɪn(t)ʃə/
Example sentences
  • The flincher is the loser (This is why Jerrie needs to practice more. She’s a flincher).
  • Luckily for me, I'm not a flincher when it comes to needles.


Pronunciation: /ˈflɪn(t)ʃɪŋ/
Example sentences
  • Remember Channel 4's fly-on-the-wall documentary, which showed him in full flight, hurling profanities at his flinching flunkies?
  • At 19, I suffered a kind of flinching, excruciating mortification.
  • However, the two most commonly employed measures have been the loss of righting reflex in animals and loss of flinching response to surgical incision in people.


Example sentences
  • For any of you who have sat university finals, or academic finals at any level, I am sure the scene is flinchingly familiar. ‘Tis the season, however, and next month a lot of lives, careers and hopes will take a turn for the better or the worse.
  • She walks to me, slowly, flinchingly, and let's me engulf her in a hug.
  • He had said it sort of flinchingly, knowing I was a Mormon.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'slink or sneak off'): from Old French flenchir 'turn aside', of West Germanic origin and related to German lenken 'to guide, steer'.

Words that rhyme with flinch

cinch, clinch, finch, inch, lynch, Minch, pinch, squinch, winch

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: flinch

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