[rig-uh l]
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verb (used without object), wrig·gled, wrig·gling.
  1. to twist to and fro; writhe; squirm.
  2. to move along by twisting and turning the body, as a worm or snake.
  3. 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.
  1. to cause to wriggle: to wriggle one's hips.
  2. to bring, get, make, etc., by wriggling: to wriggle one's way through a narrow opening.
  1. act of wriggling; a wriggling movement.

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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for wriggle out


  1. to make or cause to make twisting movements
  2. (intr) to progress by twisting and turning
  3. (intr; foll by into or out of) to manoeuvre oneself by clever or devious meanswriggle out of an embarrassing situation
  1. a wriggling movement or action
  2. 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 out



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