"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[krinj] /krɪndʒ/
verb (used without object), cringed, cringing.
to shrink, bend, or crouch, especially in fear or servility; cower.
to fawn.
servile or fawning deference.
Origin of cringe
1175-1225; Middle English crengen, crenchen (transitive); Old English *crencean, crencgean, causative of cringan, crincan to yield, fall (in battle)
Related forms
cringer, noun
cringingly, adverb
cringingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cringe
  • The golf purist who remains loyal to persimmon wood may cringe at what technology has wrought: a solid-plastic club head.
  • They want the best leaders, but they cringe at the cost.
  • It is more likely to have made investors cringe than reach for their wallets.
  • You've seen news footage of the devastation caused by major oil spills, and you cringe every time you change your oil.
  • Nevertheless, there were a few things about episode two that made me cringe.
  • Some serious photographers might cringe at being called amateurs.
  • Still, it was less the costume than the acting that made us cringe.
  • It looks incredibly fun, even though the high wipeout factor makes me cringe.
  • If you're a believer, you might cringe at this sort of scientific question.
  • Many major commercial sites cringe when security researchers find a hole.
British Dictionary definitions for cringe


verb (intransitive)
to shrink or flinch, esp in fear or servility
to behave in a servile or timid way
  1. to wince in embarrassment or distaste
  2. to experience a sudden feeling of embarrassment or distaste
the act of cringing
(Austral) the cultural cringe, subservience to overseas cultural standards
Derived Forms
cringer, noun
cringingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English cringan to yield in battle; related to Old Norse krangr weak, Middle High German krenken to weaken
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
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Word Origin and History for cringe

early 13c., from causative of Old English cringan "give way, fall (in battle), become bent," from Proto-Germanic *krank- "bend, curl up" (cf. Old Norse kringr, Dutch kring, German Kring "circle, ring"). Related: Cringed; cringing. As a noun from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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