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90s Slang You Should Know


[rahyth] /raɪð/
verb (used without object), writhed, writhing.
to twist the body about, or squirm, as in pain, violent effort, etc.
to shrink mentally, as in acute discomfort.
verb (used with object), writhed, writhing.
to twist or bend out of shape or position; distort; contort.
to twist (oneself, the body, etc.) about, as in pain.
a writhing movement; a twisting of the body, as in pain.
Origin of writhe
before 900; Middle English writhen (v.), Old English wrīthan to twist, wind; cognate with Old Norse rītha to knit, twist; akin to wreath, wry
Related forms
writher, noun
writhingly, adverb
Can be confused
wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe.
1. thresh, flail, contort, wriggle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for writhed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the darkness he seemed some monster, which in dreadful silence, writhed and fought down a slow road to death.

    The Art of Disappearing John Talbot Smith
  • Sprudell writhed under the indifferent familiarity of his tone.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • The soul within him writhed in agony as he reflected on the use which he had made of it.

    The Old Flute-Player Edward Marshall and Charles T. Dazey
  • Sir William winced and writhed helplessly under Rendel's words.

    The Arbiter Lady F. E. E. Bell
  • He writhed, struggled, twisted and swayed in the unequal contest.

    The Gay Gnani of Gingalee Florence Huntley
  • She scratched and writhed, but the knife spun from her grasp.

    Victory Lester del Rey
  • Those nations grovelled and writhed under their partly childish, partly terrific, and partly disgusting superstitions.

    Zenobia William Ware
British Dictionary definitions for writhed


to twist or squirm in or as if in pain
(intransitive) to move with such motions
(intransitive) to suffer acutely from embarrassment, revulsion, etc
the act or an instance of writhing
Derived Forms
writher, noun
Word Origin
Old English wrīthan; related to Old High German rīdan, Old Norse rītha. See wrath, wreath, wrist, wroth
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 writhed



Old English wriðan "to twist or bend," earlier "to bind or fetter," from Proto-Germanic *writhanan (cf. North Frisian wrial, Old High German ridan, Old Norse riða, Middle Swedish vriþa, Middle Danish vride), from PIE *wreit- "to turn, bend" (see wreath). Related: Writhed; writhing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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