- When you fear a ball flying past your head and coming at you and you duck back a bit out of fear, this is an example of a time when you flinch.
- When you shy away from participating in an activity because you are nervous, this is an example of a time when you flinch.
- to draw back, as from a blow, difficulty, etc.
- to wince, as from pain
Origin of flinchearlier also flench from Old French flenchir, to bend aside from Frankish an unverified form hlankjan, akin to German lenken, Old English hlencan, to twist, bend: see lank
intransitive verbflinched, flinch·ing, flinch·es
- To start or wince involuntarily, as from surprise or pain.
- To recoil, as from something unpleasant or difficult; shrink.
Origin of flinchObsolete French flenchir of Germanic origin
(third-person singular simple present flinches, present participle flinching, simple past and past participle flinched)
Compare Gothic (filhan), Icelandic fela (“to hide”)