Definition of writhe in English:



  • 1Make twisting, squirming movements or contortions of the body.

    ‘he writhed in agony on the ground’
    ‘a writhing heap of maggots’
    with object ‘a snake writhing its body’
    • ‘Taibhsear watched in awe as the great body writhed and twisted, and a new egg fell to join the others.’
    • ‘She squirmed, writhed, and wriggled, trying to evade the grip of those carrying her.’
    • ‘Bikini-clad dancers writhe onstage at a swinger's club in their best '80s music-video impersonation.’
    • ‘The man, however, is like a fish out of water, squirming and writhing.’
    • ‘Derek squirmed and writhed, trying to breathe.’
    • ‘Nodding in affirmation, Ex led her away from the pack and into the group of bodies writhing on the dance floor.’
    • ‘Miles writhed and twisted as pain wracked his body.’
    • ‘The dancers writhed, wrapped in yards of cloth on top of rostra that made them look like some kind of pole dancer.’
    • ‘I twisted and twitched and writhed, but they wouldn't let me go.’
    • ‘The bar is a seething mass of bodies writhing to the disorienting beat.’
    • ‘We throw the line out and almost immediately pull six gleaming mackerel out of the sea - silver and cobalt, jerking and frantically writhing.’
    • ‘In the second act, Colker's sleek, scantily-clad dancers writhe seductively in and out of a clear plastic tank.’
    • ‘She squirmed and writhed and twisted, genuinely this time, but she was small anyway, and Sarah was strong, and so she wasn't going anywhere.’
    • ‘They are born artists: dancers who writhe rhythmically; musicians - singing intervals long before they speak language.’
    • ‘‘Things never change here on Walton Mountain,’ I narrated brightly, stepping over Joe's body, as he writhed comically on the floor.’
    • ‘She sobbed uncontrollably and Andriel could feel her body contort and writhe.’
    • ‘Evelyn's body writhed, trying to escape her sister's insane tickling motions.’
    • ‘The demons were brilliant - creeping and crawling, twisting and writhing as one would expect them to.’
    • ‘Many people were packed into the crowded living room, their scantily clad bodies writhing to the beat.’
    • ‘There are players writhing around in agony yet television replays showed there was absolutely no contact.’
    squirm, wriggle, thrash, flounder, flail, toss, toss and turn, twitch, twist, twist and turn, roll, jiggle, wiggle, jerk, jolt
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    1. 1.1writhe in/with/at Respond with great emotional or physical discomfort to (an intense or unpleasant feeling or thought)
      ‘she bit her lip, writhing in suppressed fury’
      • ‘Witnesses said he was writhing in pain on the road with elbow and hip injuries.’
      • ‘I found myself writhing in my bed and moaning until my flatmate came to check up on me and brought me a hot lemon and honey drink.’
      • ‘In early 1932 we encounter Johnson being driven to hospital, writhing in the back of the car with stomach pains.’
      • ‘The ensuing horn blast was loud enough to stun even the Elves, who immediately clapped their hands over their ears and writhed in discomfort.’
      • ‘She found great satisfaction in seeing him writhe in discomfort.’
      • ‘The four actors appear in front of a vast mirror that reflects their every move, while sitting, standing, or laying on the floor writhing in pain.’
      • ‘When a day shift nurse discovered the man in bed the next morning writhing in agony, she called an ambulance.’
      • ‘They almost oscillate between the witty and tragic, and I found myself laughing and then writhing with discomfort.’
      • ‘When the noise didn't stop he went outside to see what was happening and found Mr Bland writhing in agony.’
      • ‘City's top scorer raced onto Alex Calvo Garcia's misdirected header but as he went to shoot he was tackled simultaneously by Russ Wilcox and was left writhing in agony.’
      • ‘When he opened the door he found Sophie on the floor writhing in agony.’
      • ‘Mr Buckley said he went to comfort Mr Cox, who was writhing in pain.’
      • ‘A minute later, Whalen was down on the Value City arena court in Columbus, writhing with two broken bones in her right hand, her collegiate career probably finished.’
      • ‘Some of the injured were writhing in pain on the floor.’
      • ‘Recently, a pony owned by a school management, was operated upon after the animal started writhing in pain.’
      • ‘It was a disturbing fall, his body writhing in spasms from the moment he hit the turf, his hands gesturing to the bench that he would play no further part.’


Old English wrīthan ‘make into coils, plait, fasten with a cord’, of Germanic origin; related to wreathe.