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[rig-uh l] /ˈrɪg əl/
verb (used without object), wriggled, wriggling.
to twist to and fro; writhe; squirm.
to move along by twisting and turning the body, as a worm or snake.
to make one's way by shifts or expedients (often followed by out):
to wriggle out of a difficulty.
verb (used with object), wriggled, wriggling.
to cause to wriggle:
to wriggle one's hips.
to bring, get, make, etc., by wriggling:
to wriggle one's way through a narrow opening.
act of wriggling; a wriggling movement.
Origin of wriggle
1485-95; < Middle Low German wriggelen (cognate with Dutch wriggelen), frequentative of *wriggen to twist, turn, akin to Old English wrīgian to twist; see wry
Related forms
wrigglingly, adverb
outwriggle, verb (used with object), outwriggled, outwriggling.
unwriggled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wriggle out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But being small Pee-wee was able to wriggle out of almost anything.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • Then I saw him wriggle out of danger, backing away like a crab.

    Billy Topsail & Company

    Norman Duncan
  • But the Brothers saw instantly that they could not wriggle out of these knots.

  • They cannot wriggle out of that blame: they cannot shirk it.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • Bohm had tried to wriggle out of every clause in his contract.

    A Tenderfoot Bride Clarice E. Richards
  • If they are accepted, why then they wriggle out of them the best way they can.

    Ask Momma R. S. Surtees
  • But there it was, signed and stamped; and he did not see how you could wriggle out of it.

    Mrs. Thompson William Babington Maxwell
  • Nothing, said Evelyn, trying to wriggle out of her aunts grasp.

    A Very Naughty Girl L. T. Meade
British Dictionary definitions for wriggle out


to make or cause to make twisting movements
(intransitive) to progress by twisting and turning
(intransitive; foll by into or out of) to manoeuvre oneself by clever or devious means: wriggle out of an embarrassing situation
a wriggling movement or action
a sinuous marking or course
Derived Forms
wriggler, noun
wriggly, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Middle Low German; compare Dutch wriggelen
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 wriggle out



late 15c., from Middle Low German wrigglen "to wriggle," from Proto-Germanic *wrig-, *wreik- "to turn" (see wry). Related to Old English wrigian "to turn, incline, go forward."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wriggle out

wriggle out

verb phrase

To avoid or evade something (1848+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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