- to shrink, bend, or crouch, especially in fear or servility; cower.
- to fawn.
- servile or fawning deference.
Origin of cringe
Examples from the Web for cringe
Maybe you managed not to cringe at his take on the Bard in Shakespeare in Love, making you a stronger person than most.Ben Affleck Delivers the Best Performance of His Career in ‘Gone Girl’
October 2, 2014
To the Peggy Noonans among us who cringe when Obama talks “down”: This is a deeply informal country.For a President Today, Talkin' Down Is Speaking American
August 7, 2014
Finally, Cleese goose-steps out of the dining room as the hapless Germans cringe and sob.Life Under Air Strikes: Children Under Fire Will Never Forget — or Forgive
August 3, 2014
But there are some soldiers of the Clinton Wars, comrades in arms with Farah and his ilk, who look back on those days and cringe.These Clinton Haters Can’t Quit the Crazy
May 22, 2014
We are meant to cringe at the sight of a photo of an all-black classroom and ask cynically where the white kids are.Equality Matters More Than Integration in Schools
May 15, 2014
He appeared to cringe, mute, as if words had failed him through grief; then—bang!The Mirror of the Sea
An expression of the deepest humility and cringe was on his battered countenance.The Spoilers of the Valley
They know no gratitude, and they would not cringe to the greatest Christian potentate.The Philippine Islands
The captives were pale and seemed to cringe from the pale interrogation light.The Link
Alan Edward Nourse
They expect to cringe; if they are not compelled to do so, they are very likely to forget their place.The Plum Tree
David Graham Phillips
- to shrink or flinch, esp in fear or servility
- to behave in a servile or timid way
- to wince in embarrassment or distaste
- to experience a sudden feeling of embarrassment or distaste
- the act of cringing
- the cultural cringe Australian subservience to overseas cultural standards
Word Origin and History for cringe
early 13c., from causative of Old English cringan "give way, fall (in battle), become bent," from Proto-Germanic *krank- "bend, curl up" (cf. Old Norse kringr, Dutch kring, German Kring "circle, ring"). Related: Cringed; cringing. As a noun from 1590s.