Definition of wriggle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɪɡ(ə)l/


1Twist and turn with quick writhing movements: [no object]: she kicked and wriggled but he held her 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, turn, twist, twist and turn, zigzag;
snake, worm, slither, slink, crawl, creep
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] 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.
2 [no object] (wriggle out of) Avoid (something) 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.
avoid, shirk, dodge, evade, elude, sidestep, circumvent, eschew;
hide from, escape from, extricate oneself from, steer clear of
informal duck
archaic bilk


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.
squirm, jiggle, wiggle, jerk, twist, turn



Pronunciation: /ˈrɪɡ(ə)li/
adjective (wrigglier, wriggliest)
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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wrig¦gle

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