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[rig-uh l] /ˈrɪg əl/
verb (used without object), wriggled, wriggling.
to twist to and fro; writhe; squirm.
to move along by twisting and turning the body, as a worm or snake.
to make one's way by shifts or expedients (often followed by out):
to wriggle out of a difficulty.
verb (used with object), wriggled, wriggling.
to cause to wriggle:
to wriggle one's hips.
to bring, get, make, etc., by wriggling:
to wriggle one's way through a narrow opening.
act of wriggling; a wriggling movement.
Origin of wriggle
1485-95; < Middle Low German wriggelen (cognate with Dutch wriggelen), frequentative of *wriggen to twist, turn, akin to Old English wrīgian to twist; see wry
Related forms
wrigglingly, adverb
outwriggle, verb (used with object), outwriggled, outwriggling.
unwriggled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wriggle
  • They wriggle and wriggle and twist and turn until you wonder why they don't fall apart.
  • Cavers wriggle through unexplored, underground mazes.
  • Although a bony fish, it lacks a swim bladder and thus has to wriggle to move forward at the same depth.
  • They wriggle around, they latch on to surfaces, they drill their way through.
  • The lobster has about an hour to wriggle free before it suffocates.
  • Mama shoved him again, and he began to wriggle his legs as if he were walking in his sleep.
  • Two weeks later the butterflies wriggle free, walk out and make a winged getaway.
  • And there are enough vague caveats in her statements to let her wriggle free.
  • The thin microfiber shell keeps the gloves light and malleable enough to wriggle your fist through a pole strap.
  • To use the cable giant's network to wriggle into local telecom markets.
British Dictionary definitions for wriggle


to make or cause to make twisting movements
(intransitive) to progress by twisting and turning
(intransitive; foll by into or out of) to manoeuvre oneself by clever or devious means: wriggle out of an embarrassing situation
a wriggling movement or action
a sinuous marking or course
Derived Forms
wriggler, noun
wriggly, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Middle Low German; compare Dutch wriggelen
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 wriggle

late 15c., from Middle Low German wrigglen "to wriggle," from Proto-Germanic *wrig-, *wreik- "to turn" (see wry). Related to Old English wrigian "to turn, incline, go forward."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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