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90s Slang You Should Know


[krinj] /krɪndʒ/
verb (used without object), cringed, cringing.
to shrink, bend, or crouch, especially in fear or servility; cower.
to fawn.
servile or fawning deference.
Origin of cringe
1175-1225; Middle English crengen, crenchen (transitive); Old English *crencean, crencgean, causative of cringan, crincan to yield, fall (in battle)
Related forms
cringer, noun
cringingly, adverb
cringingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cringe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I could neither fawn nor cringe, and the Baronet, who was a high-spirited man himself, loved me for my independence.

    The Monctons Susanna Moodie
  • They cringe till they find out there's nothing for them, and then they snarl.

    The Rider of Waroona Firth Scott
  • She was inclined to cringe before all humanity like a beaten dog.

    The Woman With The Fan Robert Hichens
  • To do Crump justice, he does not cringe now to great people.

    The Book of Snobs William Makepeace Thackeray
  • The captives were pale and seemed to cringe from the pale interrogation light.

    The Link Alan Edward Nourse
British Dictionary definitions for cringe


verb (intransitive)
to shrink or flinch, esp in fear or servility
to behave in a servile or timid way
  1. to wince in embarrassment or distaste
  2. to experience a sudden feeling of embarrassment or distaste
the act of cringing
(Austral) the cultural cringe, subservience to overseas cultural standards
Derived Forms
cringer, noun
cringingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English cringan to yield in battle; related to Old Norse krangr weak, Middle High German krenken to weaken
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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