Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To shrink back, as in fear; cower.
  • intransitive verb To behave in a servile way; fawn.
  • noun An act or instance of cringing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To bend; crouch; especially, to bend or crouch with servility or from fear or cowardice; fawn; cower.
  • Synonyms To stoop, truckle.
  • To contract; distort.
  • noun A servile or fawning obeisance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To draw one's self together as in fear or servility; to bend or crouch with base humility; to wince; hence, to make court in a degrading manner; to fawn.
  • transitive verb obsolete To contract; to draw together; to cause to shrink or wrinkle; to distort.
  • noun Servile civility; fawning; a shrinking or bowing, as in fear or servility.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A posture or gesture of shrinking or recoiling.
  • noun dialect A crick.
  • verb dated To bow or crouch in servility.
  • verb To shrink, tense or recoil, as in fear, disgust or embarrassment.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb show submission or fear
  • verb draw back, as with fear or pain

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English crengen, to bend haughtily, probably ultimately from Old English cringan, to give way.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Via Middle English, from Old English cringan.

Examples

  • One thing that makes me cringe is seeing politicians from the mainstream parties acting as apologists for BNP voters.

    Voting for racism is racist

  • What makes me cringe is the wanton mis-use of “have”, plus the non-use of it when required: “I seen my friends at Walmarts yestidday” is a common phrase here.

    Colour them turtles faster, Boy…. « Mudpuddle

  • One thing that makes me cringe is seeing politicians from the mainstream parties acting as apologists for BNP voters.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • The cringe is a successful technique for deflecting aggression … Just as we are genetically programmed to seek signs of love and loyalty, dogs are genetically programmed to exploit this foible of ours.

    The Animal Kingdom

  • The cringe is a successful technique for deflecting aggression … Just as we are genetically programmed to seek signs of love and loyalty, dogs are genetically programmed to exploit this foible of ours.

    The Animal Kingdom

  • He said he would never again cringe before his father.

    Poetry Friday

  • On its website, however, the cultural cringe is evident and double standards obtain.

    Double Standards

  • He said he would never again cringe before his father.

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • The cringe is a successful technique for deflecting aggression.

    The Truth About Dogs

  • The cringe is a successful technique for deflecting aggression.

    The Truth About Dogs

Comments

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  • what happens when you are hit with a pundit

    April 4, 2009

  • Eclispe by Stephenie Meyer Page 81

    -"I felt Edward cringe."

    November 1, 2010