View synonyms for writhing


[ rahy-thing ]


  1. twisting about or squirming, as from pain, violent effort, uncontrolled passion, etc.:

    I saw a big red-tailed hawk carry a writhing blacksnake across the sky.

  2. feeling or expressing acute mental discomfort or distress:

    His words were a writhing mix of anger and confusion and he didn't spare her any of it.


  1. an act or instance of twisting about or squirming:

    The writhing of these fly larvae around their food looks rather strange, but it turns out there's a reason for their wriggling.

  2. the state of feeling or act of expressing acute mental discomfort or distress:

    Perpetual fear and mistrust, inner pain, or the writhing of conscience may render a human existence worse than death.

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Other Words From

  • writh·ing·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of writhing1

First recorded in 1350–1400; writh(e) ( def ) + -ing 2( def ) for the adjective senses; writh(e) ( def ) + -ing 1( def ) for the noun senses

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Example Sentences

The pathetic dives and writhing on the field is a turn off to the most ardent American fan.

After the film came out, my stepfather said to me, ‘I hope you’re not doing any writhing in your next one.

Both are literally depictions of magical air, evocative of movement and potency stirring inside a writhing cloud.

Much of the love scene is composed of medium shots, with the camera focused on the two horizontal bodies writhing on a bed.

But a close examination of the actual practice itself reveals that the writhing, miserable reality of it is virtually undeniable.

"I ask no promise from you," continued the excited and suspicious man, writhing under a sense of his helplessness.

With a writhing motion she settled herself more securely in the hammock.

Her feet crush creeping things: there is a busy ant or blazoned beetle, with its back broken, writhing in the dust, unseen.

She left behind her writhing all over the kitchen floor a pair of big blacksnakes.

Imagine his agony at the sight of his mother,—pale, inanimate, and from time to time writhing under a convulsive chill.