[ rahyth ]
/ raɪð /

verb (used without object), writhed, writh·ing.

to twist the body about, or squirm, as in pain, violent effort, etc.
to shrink mentally, as in acute discomfort.

verb (used with object), writhed, writh·ing.

to twist or bend out of shape or position; distort; contort.
to twist (oneself, the body, etc.) about, as in pain.


a writhing movement; a twisting of the body, as in pain.

Origin of writhe

before 900; Middle English writhen (v.), Old English wrīthan to twist, wind; cognate with Old Norse rītha to knit, twist; akin to wreath, wry

Related forms

writh·er, nounwrith·ing·ly, adverb

Can be confused

wraith wreath wreathe writhe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for writhe

British Dictionary definitions for writhe


/ (raɪð) /


to twist or squirm in or as if in pain
(intr) to move with such motions
(intr) to suffer acutely from embarrassment, revulsion, etc


the act or an instance of writhing

Derived Forms

writher, noun

Word Origin for writhe

Old English wrīthan; related to Old High German rīdan, Old Norse rītha. See wrath, wreath, wrist, wroth
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