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[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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Having imparted this information to Luisa the unhappy woman began to roll her eyes and squirm.

    The Patriot Antonio Fogazzaro
  • I wanted to tell you and have the fun of watchin' you squirm.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • One of the mittened hands moved slightly, raising the body from the ground so it could squirm forward an inch or so.

    The Time Traders Andre Norton
  • I tell you I wanted to see him squirm for the honour of the craft.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • How Marie ever helped him squirm out of this diving-suit was more than I could tell.

    The Man In The High-Water Boots F. Hopkinson Smith
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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