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squirm

[skwurm]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to wriggle or writhe.
  2. to feel or display discomfort or distress, as from reproof, embarrassment, pain, etc.: He squirmed under the judge's questioning.
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noun
  1. the act of squirming; a squirming or wriggling movement.
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Origin of squirm

First recorded in 1685–95; of expressive orig., perhaps echoing worm
Related formssquirm·er, nounsquirm·ing·ly, adverbun·squirm·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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1. turn, twist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

flounderwrithetwistagonizeshiftskewwrigglesquiggletosswindworm

Examples from the Web for squirm

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then it will be our friend the Financial Field's turn to squirm!

  • 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.

  • I tell you I wanted to see him squirm for the honour of the craft.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • And say, maybe Her Stoutness didn't enjoy watchin' us squirm.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford


British Dictionary definitions for squirm

squirm

verb (intr)
  1. to move with a wriggling motion; writhe
  2. to feel deep mental discomfort, guilt, embarrassment, etc
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noun
  1. a squirming movement
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Derived Formssquirmer, nounsquirming, adjectivesquirmingly, adverb

Word Origin

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

v.

1690s, originally referring to eels, of unknown origin; sometimes associated with worm or swarm, but perhaps rather imitative. Related: Squirmed; squirming.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper