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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 squirming
  • Lehman's former leaders are not the only ones squirming in the glare.
  • Predictable touch doesn't elicit the laughter and squirming of tickling-it's unpredictable touch that does the trick.
  • And the final scene of parting, intended as an ironic heart-tug, is a prolonged business that induces squirming.
  • But the lesson remains the same, whether it's an invertebrate squirming on the grill or a puppy.
  • Three hours of squirming repaid by laughs for years.
  • She was holding his hands, but he was fussing and squirming.
  • She set about preparing an olive oil bath for the squirming little newcomer.
  • Such symptoms include fidgeting, squirming around when seated, and having to get up frequently to walk or run around.
  • The ability to detect squirming, as a pressure release strategy, will be investigated.
British Dictionary definitions for squirming


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 squirming



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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