One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Make a sudden flinching movement out of fear or pain.‘he blenched and struggled to regain his composure’‘Lord Ralph blenched at the very idea of working from dawn until dusk’
flinch, start, shy, shy away, recoil, shrink, pull back, back away, draw back, cringe, wince, quiver, shudder, shiver, tremble, quake, shake, quail, cower, waver, falter, hesitate, get cold feet, blanchView synonyms
- ‘Spinning around, she jabbed the hilt of her dagger into the stomach of the assassin, causing him to blench, his body going limp as he fell to the floor, unconscious.’
- ‘Martha Stewart would blench at the Beehive decor, and it's hard to imagine Helen Clark posing with fluffy Persian cats, but otherwise Martha and Helen could pretty much swap places.’
- ‘That this debate would be directly relevant to Michelangelo's poetry, let alone to Petrarch's, is a stretch that might have made literary critics blench.’
- ‘He kept passing worse and worse laws to see if Jack Straw on the opposite bench would blench at each ever more extreme law and order measure.’
- ‘Purists and pedants alike regularly blench when they see the things even supposedly careful writers do with the apostrophe.’
- ‘Many philosophers blenched at the idea even of educating, let alone empowering, the common people.’
- ‘But even Melville might have blenched at Browning's final exordium.’
- ‘She blenched and left hurriedly; I doubt that she will be back.’
- ‘A headline in the current Spectator made me blench.’
2Become pale.‘a shudder shook the boy's frame and his face blenched’
Old English blencan ‘deceive’, of Germanic origin; later influenced by blink. blench (sense 2) is a variant of blanch, although in practice the two senses are very difficult to disambiguate.
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