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.

before 900; Middle English writhen (v.), Old English wrīthan to twist, wind; cognate with Old Norse rītha to knit, twist; akin to wreath, wry

writher, noun
writhingly, adverb

wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe.

1. thresh, flail, contort, wriggle.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
writhe (raɪð)
1.  to twist or squirm in or as if in pain
2.  (intr) to move with such motions
3.  (intr) to suffer acutely from embarrassment, revulsion, etc
4.  the act or an instance of writhing
[Old English wrīthan; related to Old High German rīdan, Old Norse rītha. See wrath, wreath, wrist, wroth]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. wriðan "to twist or bend," earlier "to bind or fetter," from P.Gmc. *writhanan (cf. N.Fris. wrial, O.H.G. ridan, O.N. riða, M.Swed. vriþa, M.Da. vride), from PIE *wreit- "to turn, bend" (see wreath).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The tangle of snakes writhed and curled on her head, sometimes reaching down to
  tickle her face with their tiny tongues.
Another was trapped against a wall and writhed as an officer shot rubber
  bullets at him, again.
Each writhed in fake agony when calls late in the game did not go his way.
Some people writhed on the sidewalk, pounding the concrete with their hands.
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