- to wriggle or writhe.
- to feel or display discomfort or distress, as from reproof, embarrassment, pain, etc.: He squirmed under the judge's questioning.
- the act of squirming; a squirming or wriggling movement.
Origin of squirm
First recorded in 1685–95; of expressive orig., perhaps echoing worm
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. turn, twist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for squirm
I started to squirm in my chair and Jimbo put his hand back on my shoulder to settle me down.I Shot Bin Laden
November 16, 2014
Even with several judges on her payroll, Mandelbaum was not able to squirm out of the charges.Meet 'The Queen of Thieves' Marm Mandelbaum, New York City's First Mob Boss
J. North Conway
September 7, 2014
The negotiator added that she told him she “liked to watch them squirm around after they had been shot.”The First Modern School Shooter Feels Responsible for the Rest
May 30, 2014
Moments like these could cause ticket-buyers to squirm or, perhaps, reflect on their own capacity to overlook and forgive.Woody Allen’s ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ Musical and the Moral Responsibility of an Artist
April 10, 2014
With 330 million customers worldwide, the move is undoubtedly causing phone company executives to squirm.Your Dentist Is Watching You Brush
February 27, 2014
Then it will be our friend the Financial Field's turn to squirm!A Woman Intervenes
I wanted to tell you and have the fun of watchin' you squirm.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
The animal continued to squirm but did not offer to come nearer.The Hound From The North
I tell you I wanted to see him squirm for the honour of the craft.Lord Jim
And say, maybe Her Stoutness didn't enjoy watchin' us squirm.Shorty McCabe
- to move with a wriggling motion; writhe
- to feel deep mental discomfort, guilt, embarrassment, etc
- a squirming movement
C17: of imitative origin (perhaps influenced by worm)
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
Word Origin and History for squirm
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper