[ rahyth ]
See synonyms for: writhewrithedwrithing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),writhed, writh·ing.
  1. to twist the body about or squirm, as in pain, violent effort, uncontrolled passion, etc.

  2. to shrink mentally, as in acute discomfort.

verb (used with object),writhed, writh·ing.
  1. to twist or bend out of shape or position; distort; contort.

  2. to twist (oneself, the body, etc.) about, as in pain.

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

Origin of writhe

First recorded before 900; Middle English writhen (verb), Old English wrīthan “to twist, wind”; cognate with Old Norse rītha “to knit, twist”; akin to wreath, wry

Other words for writhe

Other words from writhe

  • writh·er, noun

Words that may be confused with writhe

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use writhe in a sentence

  • Strong hands were on Zeyneb's shoulders, but he almost writhed out of them, and stood before Richard.

    God Wills It! | William Stearns Davis
  • Azenor the Pale, writhed with pain under her iron fetters as the flames, reaching her limbs, set her robe and long hair on fire.

  • Then a serpent of fire writhed along the fringe of the cloud mass and disappeared, followed by another sullen roar.

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham

British Dictionary definitions for writhe


/ (raɪð) /

  1. to twist or squirm in or as if in pain

  2. (intr) to move with such motions

  1. (intr) to suffer acutely from embarrassment, revulsion, etc

  1. the act or an instance of writhing

Origin of writhe

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

Derived forms of writhe

  • writher, noun

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