Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To turn or twist the body or a body part with writhing motions.
  • intransitive verb To move or proceed with writhing motions.
  • intransitive verb To move with a wriggling motion.
  • intransitive verb To make (one's way, for example) by or as if by wriggling.
  • noun A wriggling movement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The motion of one who or that which wriggles; a quick twisting motion or contortion like that of a worm or an eel.
  • noun Something showing the effect of wriggling or sinuous action; a sinuosity or contortion; a wrinkle.
  • To move sinuously; twist to and fro; writhe; squirm; wiggle.
  • To move along sinuously, or by twisting and turning the body, as a snake, an eel, or a worm; hence, figuratively, to proceed by shifts and turns; make way by sinuous or crooked means: as, to wriggle out of a difficulty.
  • To cause to wriggle; twist and shake slightly and quickly; effect by wriggling.

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

  • intransitive verb To move the body to and fro with short, writhing motions, like a worm; to squirm; to twist uneasily or quickly about.
  • transitive verb To move with short, quick contortions; to move by twisting and squirming; like a worm.
  • adjective obsolete Wriggling; frisky; pliant; flexible.
  • noun Act of wriggling; a short or quick writhing motion or contortion.

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

  • verb intransitive To slightly twist one's body and quickly move one's limbs.
  • verb transitive To cause to or make something wriggle.
  • noun A wriggling movement.

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

  • verb to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling)
  • noun the act of wiggling

Etymologies

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

[Middle English wrigglen, perhaps from Middle Low German wriggeln; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Related to Old English wrigian ("to turn").

Examples

  • Did even a phony like Randall Terry "wriggle" into the spotlight recently when he exploited the hapless Schiavo family?

    Hullabaloo

  • Perhaps there are moments when the man has remembered his childish language, betrayed by his fondness for such words as 'wriggle', 'slither' and 'squish'.

    Archive 2006-09-01

  • Perhaps there are moments when the man has remembered his childish language, betrayed by his fondness for such words as 'wriggle', 'slither' and 'squish'.

    A Prolegomenon to the Reading of Some Books Labeled YA

  • Miss Bartlett gave a kind of wriggle, and he prepared for a discussion.

    A Room with a View

  • With a kind of wriggle, like a fish returned to the brook by the fisherman, Biddlebaum the silent began to talk, striving to put into words the ideas that had been accumulated by his mind during long years of silence.

    Hands

  • With a kind of wriggle, like a fish returned to the brook by the fisherman, Biddlebaum the silent began to talk, striving to put into words the ideas that had been accumulated by his mind during long years of silence.

    Winesburg, Ohio: a Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life

  • With a kind of wriggle, like a fish returned to the brook by the fisherman, Biddlebaum the silent began to talk, striving to put into words the ideas that had been accumulated by his mind during long years of silence.

    Winesburg, Ohio; a group of tales of Ohio small town life

  • [FN#44] We should call this walk of "Arab ladies" a waddle: I have never seen it in Europe except amongst the trading classes of Trieste, who have a "wriggle" of their own.

    Arabian nights. English

  • I feel a conviction that it is somehow connected with Glacial destruction, but I cannot "wriggle" comfortably at all on the subject.

    More Letters of Charles Darwin — Volume 1

  • This cam with plastic clamping plate design ensures smooth, torque-free clamping to eliminate movement or 'wriggle' during the clamping process, as well as ensuring that the clamping force cannot exceed set limits, which can be as high as 5,000N.

    Manufacturingtalk - manufacturing industry news

Comments

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  • "held under these smothering waves

    by your strong and thick veined hand,

    but one of these days I'm going to wriggle up on dry land."

    February 21, 2007

  • Would "the act of wiggling" not be wiggle? Dontchathink "wriggle" has a writhing quality to it?

    December 3, 2007