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writhe

[rahyth] /raɪð/
verb (used without object), writhed, writhing.
1.
to twist the body about, or squirm, as in pain, violent effort, etc.
2.
to shrink mentally, as in acute discomfort.
verb (used with object), writhed, writhing.
3.
to twist or bend out of shape or position; distort; contort.
4.
to twist (oneself, the body, etc.) about, as in pain.
noun
5.
a writhing movement; a twisting of the body, as in pain.
Origin
900
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.
Synonyms
1. thresh, flail, contort, wriggle.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for writhes

writhe

/raɪð/
verb
1.
to twist or squirm in or as if in pain
2.
(intransitive) to move with such motions
3.
(intransitive) to suffer acutely from embarrassment, revulsion, etc
noun
4.
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
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Word Origin and History for writhes

writhe

v.

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
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