Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[rahyth] /raɪð/
verb (used without object), writhed, writhing.
to twist the body about, or squirm, as in pain, violent effort, etc.
to shrink mentally, as in acute discomfort.
verb (used with object), writhed, writhing.
to twist or bend out of shape or position; distort; contort.
to twist (oneself, the body, etc.) about, as in pain.
a writhing movement; a twisting of the body, as in pain.
Origin of writhe
before 900; Middle English writhen (v.), Old English wrīthan to twist, wind; cognate with Old Norse rītha to knit, twist; akin to wreath, wry
Related forms
writher, noun
writhingly, adverb
Can be confused
wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe.
1. thresh, flail, contort, wriggle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for writhe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His features seemed to writhe and knot and assume in as many moments a dozen different aspects.

    Cleek, the Master Detective Thomas W. Hanshew
  • Is it that he might writhe in the nightmare, or suffer agony from cramps?

  • He was supremely unaware of the coldness that made Tommy writhe in impotent rebellion.

    The Lamp in the Desert Ethel M. Dell
  • writhe away or not as you please,” thought the poor man, “but pay me my copeck!

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • So she took their taunts in silence; and all her struggle was not to let them see their power to make her writhe within.

  • Andrea might writhe and supplicate and despair as he would—in vain.

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
  • Now, take my advice: the pin is in, don't worry if he writhe on it a little bit!

  • I saw the beast, which was perched upon the bowl, writhe and twist.

  • A man stabbed to the heart makes no outcry, he does not even moan or writhe.

    The Spanish Brothers Deborah Alcock
British Dictionary definitions for writhe


to twist or squirm in or as if in pain
(intransitive) to move with such motions
(intransitive) to suffer acutely from embarrassment, revulsion, etc
the act or an instance of writhing
Derived Forms
writher, noun
Word Origin
Old English wrīthan; related to Old High German rīdan, Old Norse rītha. See wrath, wreath, wrist, wroth
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for writhe

Old English wriðan "to twist or bend," earlier "to bind or fetter," from Proto-Germanic *writhanan (cf. North Frisian wrial, Old High German ridan, Old Norse riða, Middle Swedish vriþa, Middle Danish vride), from PIE *wreit- "to turn, bend" (see wreath). Related: Writhed; writhing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for writhe

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for writhe

Scrabble Words With Friends