[rig-uh l]

verb (used without object), wrig·gled, wrig·gling.

to twist to and fro; writhe; squirm.
to move along by twisting and turning the body, as a worm or snake.
to make one's way by shifts or expedients (often followed by out): to wriggle out of a difficulty.

verb (used with object), wrig·gled, wrig·gling.

to cause to wriggle: to wriggle one's hips.
to bring, get, make, etc., by wriggling: to wriggle one's way through a narrow opening.


act of wriggling; a wriggling movement.

Nearby words

  1. wretchedly,
  2. wrexham,
  3. wrick,
  4. wrier,
  5. wriest,
  6. wriggler,
  7. wrigglework,
  8. wriggly,
  9. wright,
  10. wright brothers

Origin of wriggle

1485–95; < Middle Low German wriggelen (cognate with Dutch wriggelen), frequentative of *wriggen to twist, turn, akin to Old English wrīgian to twist; see wry

Related formswrig·gling·ly, adverbout·wrig·gle, verb (used with object), out·wrig·gled, out·wrig·gling.un·wrig·gled, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for wriggle

British Dictionary definitions for wriggle



to make or cause to make twisting movements
(intr) to progress by twisting and turning
(intr; foll by into or out of) to manoeuvre oneself by clever or devious meanswriggle out of an embarrassing situation


a wriggling movement or action
a sinuous marking or course
Derived Formswriggler, nounwriggly, adjective

Word Origin for wriggle

C15: from Middle Low German; compare Dutch wriggelen

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 wriggle



late 15c., from Middle Low German wrigglen "to wriggle," from Proto-Germanic *wrig-, *wreik- "to turn" (see wry). Related to Old English wrigian "to turn, incline, go forward."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper