Share this entry
wriggle Syllabification: wrig·gle
Pronunciation: /ˈriɡəl/

Definition of wriggle in English:


1Twist and turn with quick writhing movements: [no object]: he kicked and wriggled but she held him firmly [with object]: she wriggled her bare, brown toes
More example sentences
  • She's wriggling and twisting on the bed all the time.
  • The baby wriggled, all limbs kicking and waving happily.
  • They had sliced the worm in two and the worm was still wriggling.
squirm, writhe, wiggle, jiggle, jerk, thresh, flounder, flail, twitch, twist and turn;
snake, worm, slither
1.1 [no object] Move in a particular direction with wriggling movements: Susie wriggled out of her clothes
More example sentences
  • She reached the rocks and wriggled through them, moving her feet gently through the water.
  • Someone latched onto him but he wriggled away, his eyes directly on Gabrielle Potter.
  • She tried to wriggle away without waking him but she could barely move.
1.2 (wriggle out of) Avoid (something), especially by devious means: don’t try and wriggle out of your contract
More example sentences
  • He said that, in his opinion, Mrs Stansfield's counter-claim was a ‘sham’ because she constantly tried to wriggle out of the contract and avoid blame for the shop's closure.
  • To cut a long story short, this bill is introducing these rules to stop the banks from avoiding and wriggling out of their taxes.
  • The whisky industry, which last week was trying to wriggle out of new environmental regulations on water, has been outed as a major source of water pollution.
escape from
informal duck


[in singular] Back to top  
A wriggling movement: she gave an impatient little wriggle
More example sentences
  • She gave a little wriggle of her shoulders, looking uncomfortable.
  • He was not gagged, which was a blessing, but the rope was tied tight and limited any movement to a caterpillar-like wriggle.
  • Sea creatures appear lashed by an ocean spray of brilliant white diamonds; the twisting form of an iguana brooch insinuates the darting wriggle of the animal's movements.


Pronunciation: /ˈriɡ(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • It's a very wriggly baby… it was playing with its fingers and toes while we were watching, and opening/closing its mouth.
  • Each molecule is a bit like a tadpole: a large head, with a long, wriggly tail.
  • I watched one that had caught a particularly large and wriggly earthworm but couldn't manage to eat it.


Late 15th century: from Middle Low German wriggelen, frequentative of wriggen 'twist, turn'.

Words that rhyme with wriggle

giggle, higgle, jiggle, niggle, sniggle, squiggle, wiggle
Definition of wriggle in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources