"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[skwurm] /skwɜrm/
verb (used without object)
to wriggle or writhe.
to feel or display discomfort or distress, as from reproof, embarrassment, pain, etc.:
He squirmed under the judge's questioning.
the act of squirming; a squirming or wriggling movement.
Origin of squirm
1685-95; of expressive orig., perhaps echoing worm
Related forms
squirmer, noun
squirmingly, adverb
unsquirming, adjective
1. turn, twist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for squirm
  • Infinitesimal human beings, many little more than kitten size, squirm in.
  • Both sides were pleased with having a chance to make their rivals squirm.
  • Even a hint of spontaneity in legislative elections can make the party squirm.
  • They function as virtual ponds where artificial intelligence thingies squirm and thrive.
  • All that many in the audience could do was squirm and gasp.
  • Contact with the natives seems mainly with the kind who, for a fee, squirm up and down on your lap.
  • The sound of fingernails scraping a dusty chalkboard makes a listener immediately squirm and cover her ears.
  • But mention how he has become something of a middle-age heartthrob, and he starts to squirm.
  • Keep up the arrogance though, it will make watching you people squirm so much more amusing.
  • People in a lot of disciplines might squirm at practices in their disciplines from half a century ago.
British Dictionary definitions for squirm


verb (intransitive)
to move with a wriggling motion; writhe
to feel deep mental discomfort, guilt, embarrassment, etc
a squirming movement
Derived Forms
squirmer, noun
squirming, adjective
squirmingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: of imitative origin (perhaps influenced by worm)
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 squirm

1690s, originally referring to eels, of unknown origin; sometimes associated with worm or swarm, but perhaps rather imitative. Related: Squirmed; squirming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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