An example of cringe is when you duck backwards because you are afraid you are going to get hit.
Origin of cringe
- Middle English crengen to bend haughtily probably ultimately from Old English cringan to give way
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English *crinchen, crenchen, crengen, from Old English cringan, crincan (“to yield, cringe; fall; perish, die”), from Proto-Germanic *kringaną, *krinkaną (“to fall”), from Proto-Indo-European *ger- (“to twist, wind”). Cognate with Scots crenge, creinge, creenge, crienge (“to cringe, shrug”). Related to crinkle.