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[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.
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 cringing
  • 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.
  • The hunter's cringing dogs are dragged behind him, by a bear and a boar.
  • So to think of him for more than a second obliges one to contemplate, with a kind of cringing pleasure, his torso.
  • They are chained and cringing, fearful of the roar of the guns, of the scampering of feet on the deck above-hoping for release.
  • Here that expression has curdled into the cringing, hunted gaze of an abused animal with no safe hiding place.
  • She will be panic stricken and cringing in her hour of defeat.
  • His lather was branding by at the time and remonstrating with him for his cruelty te the beast that was cringing under the lash.
British Dictionary definitions for cringing


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 cringing



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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