[ krinj ]
/ krɪndʒ /
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See synonyms for: cringe / cringed / cringing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object), cringed, cring·ing.
to shrink back, bend, or crouch, especially in fear, pain, or servility; cower: She cringed in a corner and started praying. They cringed and bowed before the king.
to feel very embarrassed or awkward; react with discomfort: Some of us cringed at the speaker’s tactless comments.
to seek favor by acting in a servile way; fawn: He has never cringed to anyone—in fact, he can sometimes be a bully.
an act or instance of shrinking back, bending, or crouching: The gunshots elicited a cringe of terror.
an instance of being very embarrassed, awkward, or uncomfortable: Some of his outfits are bizarre enough to induce a cringe or two.
servile or fawning deference.
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Origin of cringe

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English crengen, crenchen (transitive); Old English crencean, crencgean (unattested), causative of cringan, crincan “to yield, fall (in battle)”


cring·er, nouncring·ing·ly, adverbcring·ing·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use cringe in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cringe

/ (krɪndʒ) /

verb (intr)
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
the cultural cringe Australian subservience to overseas cultural standards

Derived forms of cringe

cringer, nouncringingly, adverb

Word Origin for cringe

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