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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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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 sight of him writhing had caused the other doctors and nurses on the ward
  to panic.
Howling, she grabs fistfuls of air, writhing in a blur of blue latex and
  spangled fur.
At last, to the delight of the crowd, the limp bird is tossed into the writhing
  tiger pit.
Moments later, he starts gagging and writhing in pain.
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