cringe

[krinj]
verb (used without object), cringed, cringing.
1.
to shrink, bend, or crouch, especially in fear or servility; cower.
2.
to fawn.
noun
3.
servile or fawning deference.

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English crengen, crenchen (transitive); Old English *crencean, crencgean, causative of cringan, crincan to yield, fall (in battle)

cringer, noun
cringingly, adverb
cringingness, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cringe (krɪndʒ)
 
vb
1.  to shrink or flinch, esp in fear or servility
2.  to behave in a servile or timid way
3.  informal
 a.  to wince in embarrassment or distaste
 b.  to experience a sudden feeling of embarrassment or distaste
 
n
4.  the act of cringing
5.  (Austral) the cultural cringe subservience to overseas cultural standards
 
[Old English cringan to yield in battle; related to Old Norse krangr weak, Middle High German krenken to weaken]
 
'cringer
 
n
 
'cringingly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cringe
early 13c., from causative of O.E. cringan "give way, fall (in battle), become bent," from P.Gmc. *krank- "bend, curl up."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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