- To cringe is to draw back or to move your face or body in order to shrink from danger or fear.
An example of cringe is when you duck backwards because you are afraid you are going to get hit.
cringe definition by Webster's New World
- to draw back, bend, crouch, etc., as when afraid; shrink from something dangerous or painful
- to act in a timid, servile manner; fawn
Origin: Middle English crengen (with nasalized vowel as in hinge), causative ; from Old English cringan, to fall (in battle): for Indo-European base see cradle
- cringer noun
cringe definition by American Heritage Dictionary
intransitive verb cringed cringed, cring·ing, cring·es
- To shrink back, as in fear; cower.
- To behave in a servile way; fawn.
Origin: Middle English crengen, to bend haughtily, probably ultimately from Old English cringan, to give way.