verb (used without object), cringed, cringing.
to shrink, bend, or crouch, especially in fear or servility; cower.
to fawn.
servile or fawning deference.

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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cringe (krɪndʒ)
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
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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
It keeps its mouth shut except for a fear grimace, and when challenged makes a
  cringing retreat.
The goal is to get the publication to publish the retraction, usually cringing,
  as soon as possible.
Instead of cringing at the readers' comments, you will learn how to moderate
  them and appreciate them and learn from them.
But even if you find yourself cringing a bit in the early going, stick with it.
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