9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 cringed
  • Many in the industry understandably cringed at the notion of ham-handed regulation being quickly adopted in response.
  • We watched the tapes, and cringed thinking everyone would die.
  • When they heard about the matchmaking scheme, both cringed.
  • Scientists and engineers often cringed at the distorting simplification, but the popular label stuck.
  • At the opening sequences, one cringed a little for the evening to come.
  • She cringed at the train's loud metallic shriek, pressing herself to the wall.
  • Overhearing this, my poor cabman cringed even lower behind the steering wheel at the forcefulness of my voice and manner.
  • My patient cringed at the thought of a needle poking into the painful area.
  • Meanwhile, those accustomed to unfettered use of the land must have cringed as settlement by these newcomers expanded.
  • When the wood environmentalist came up everyone cringed.
British Dictionary definitions for cringed


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 cringed



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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