verb (used without object)

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.

Nearby words

  1. squirearch,
  2. squirearchy,
  3. squiredom,
  4. squireen,
  5. squireling,
  6. squirmy,
  7. squirrel,
  8. squirrel away,
  9. squirrel cage,
  10. squirrel corn

Origin of squirm

First recorded in 1685–95; of expressive orig., perhaps echoing worm

1. turn, twist.

Related formssquirm·er, nounsquirm·ing·ly, adverbun·squirm·ing, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for squirmed

British Dictionary definitions for squirmed


verb (intr)

to move with a wriggling motion; writhe
to feel deep mental discomfort, guilt, embarrassment, etc


a squirming movement
Derived Formssquirmer, nounsquirming, adjectivesquirmingly, adverb

Word Origin for squirm

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 squirmed



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper