a sudden, sharp pain: On damp days, he's often bothered by a twinge of rheumatism.
a mental or emotional pang: a twinge of guilt; twinges of sorrow.

verb (used with object), twinged, twing·ing.

to affect (the body or mind) with a sudden, sharp pain or pang.
to pinch; tweak; twitch.

verb (used without object), twinged, twing·ing.

to have or feel a sudden, sharp pain.

Origin of twinge

before 1000; Middle English twengen to pinch, Old English twengan

Synonyms for twinge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for twinge

Contemporary Examples of twinge

Historical Examples of twinge

  • The generous "twinge of pain," to which she confesses, was intelligible.

  • "She would," averred Barry stoutly, over the twinge of an inner qualm.

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • She had a twinge of pity, watching the old faces pale and kindle.

  • That gate he saw, with a twinge of conscience, was wide open.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • The young man felt a sudden pang of compunction, a twinge of conscience.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for twinge



a sudden brief darting or stabbing pain
a sharp emotional panga twinge of guilt


to have or cause to have a twinge
(tr) obsolete to pinch; tweak

Word Origin for twinge

Old English twengan to pinch; related to Old High German zwengen
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 twinge

1540s, "a pinch," from obsolete verb twinge "to pinch, tweak," from Old English twengan "to pinch," of uncertain origin. Meaning "sharp, sudden pain" is recorded from c.1600. Figurative sense (with reference to shame, remorse, etc.) is recorded from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

twinge in Medicine




A sharp, sudden physical pain.


To cause to feel a sharp pain.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.