Definition of cringe in English:

cringe

verbcringes, 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dimitri cringed away from the raging monster and quickly stumbled towards the door.’
    • ‘When he reached out to take her hand, she cringed away from him and fisted her skirt.’
    • ‘He cringed away from the sound and the feel of it, causing the papers to fall to the floor.’
    • ‘First I will look down, so that every cell in my body cringes with the awareness that I am doing this to myself, that this is wholly my choice; then I will step out into nothingness.’
    • ‘The six-storey tall screen captures the demonic fury of the falls in such realistic detail that you cringe with fear as you watch it.’
    • ‘Ideal as a watchdog, this dog will neither be aggressive nor cringe with fear on accosting a stranger.’
    • ‘When Nikki rotated his ankle the opposite direction, he cringed and his whole body tensed.’
    • ‘Jordan cringed with fear as she watched the officer's face grow red with anger.’
    • ‘Death seemed to stalk her soul and she cringed in fear of it but that served as a powerful form of motivation.’
    • ‘Kokon and Tona cringed in fear that their master might turn on them and kill them.’
    • ‘Petal, crouching in the corner, the sheets around her naked body, cringed.’
    • ‘She cringed for she feared that something far more terrible was going to happen.’
    • ‘But as much as I love him, I cringe in fear every time I see him.’
    • ‘The word die seemed to hang in the air like an evil spell, a black enchantment that clutched at their hearts, made their mortal souls cringe with fear.’
    • ‘They have a field day when they see decent people cringe in fear or are immobilised by the power of fear itself.’
    • ‘He tracks them down into an underground bar where they cower and cringe when they spot him entering the room.’
    • ‘Bojangles, the Mecca for all the crims and drug freaks, is the venue to make any family or business man cringe with fear and disgust.’
    cower, shrink, draw back, pull back, recoil, start, shy, shy away, wince, flinch, blench, blanch, dodge, duck, crouch, shudder, shake, tremble, quiver, quail, quake
    kowtow, bow and scrape, grovel, creep, crawl, toady, fawn, truckle, cower
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Experience an inward shiver of embarrassment or disgust.
      ‘I cringed at the fellow's stupidity’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Inwardly he cringed at the memory.’
      • ‘The floor was dusty and Carmen cringed at the sight of her dirty, torn nightgown.’
      • ‘Heck, there are times when I have cringed at the musical tastes of musicians I admire.’
      • ‘I cringed at the title, hating the reminder that I was royalty while she was common.’
      • ‘Thomas cringed at her all too accurate description and he felt annoyed by it.’
      • ‘Again, it wasn't quite how he wanted to say it, and he cringed at how it came out.’
      • ‘I cringed at the thought of him urinating on it in the full view of the highway.’
      • ‘I glanced at my reflection in the mirror and almost cringed at the sight of my messy state.’
      • ‘She cringed at the feel of his breath on her neck, struggling to get away from him.’
      • ‘I took my first step into the store and cringed at the music that they were playing.’
      • ‘He cringed at his own nosiness, but this place was easily worth a million and a half.’
      • ‘Calida cringed at the effortless way that those words passed through his lips.’
      • ‘In a week or three, I'll look back on what I've been writing recently and I'll either cringe with embarrassment or just be totally baffled by what was going on in my head.’
      • ‘Sure to make you howl with laughter and cringe with embarrassment, this is a definitive highlight of the Michaelmas theatre season.’
      • ‘The room smelled like a combination of cheap liquor and bad body odor, to make things worse the room was hot and the smell made Jeremy cringe in disgust.’
      • ‘Yanare took a deep breath secretly hoping that she could meet someone in this party that would make her heart beat rapidly instead of making her cringe in disgust.’
      • ‘I know it was a harmless mistake but I just cringe at stuff like this.’
      wince, squirm, blush, flush, go red
      View synonyms

noun

  • An act of cringing.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So go he does, turning on his heel and slinking out with the cringe of a dog that's been kicked one too many times.’
    • ‘His robots fight among themselves most realistically, and his crowning achievement is a pitched battle on an underground road, believable enough to induce cringes and curled fists.’
    • ‘I moved my arms to the side and dropped the cloth covered items onto the ground out of the way, so I wouldn't land on them and break them, and then closed my eyes in a cringe to prepare for the pain I was bound to feel in the next second.’
    • ‘Thankfully, this is also one of the few episodes where Ralph's cowardly cringe is tossed aside and he stands up for himself.’
    • ‘Syringe rhymes with cringe, a poetic coincidence not lost on those who get wobbly even thinking about their annual flu shot.’
    • ‘She shot a kind look at Kaiyo, whose perpetual cringe eased in reply.’
    • ‘But the characters are so flat and unappealing that I couldn't muster up a single empathetic cringe for 'em.’
    • ‘Supporters of this war who are in the mood for an ideological pogrom should chill out for a while, and opponents need not fold into permanent cringe position.’
    • ‘As for monarchists weighing into the debate right now, it seems that never in the field of human controversy has greater cringe been inflicted on so many, by so few.’

Origin

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 crank.

Pronunciation

cringe

/krɪn(d)ʒ/