Cringing refers to an action or behavior in which a person cowers or flinches in anticipation of something unpleasant or embarrassing. It can also refer to a feeling of intense discomfort, shame, or humiliation.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Cower, flinch, tremble, wince, grovel, crawl, shrink, quail, recoil, blench, shy away.


Bold, confident, brave, courageous, fearless, assertive, audacious, daring, intrepid, gutsy, unflinching.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb cringe, cringed, cringes, cringing
Adjective cringing
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • Whenever she talks to her boss, she can’t help but feel a cringing sensation in her stomach.

  • His cringing posture and nervousness made it evident that he was lying.

  • The sight of his cringing puppy brought tears to his eyes.

  • I couldn’t help but feel cringing embarrassment when I watched the video of myself giving the presentation.


The word “cringing” is a descriptive adjective that is often used to describe someone’s behavior or reaction to a particular situation. The word is derived from the verb “cringe”, which means to draw back or flinch in fear or disgust. The suffix -ing is added to the verb form to create the adjective form, which is commonly used to describe the feeling or reaction of someone who is cringing.

One common prefix variation of the word is “self-”, which is often added to create the compound adjective “self-cringing”. This is used to describe a situation in which a person is uncomfortable or embarrassed with their own behavior or thoughts. For example, someone might describe themselves as “self-cringing” when reflecting on something they said or did that they now regret.

Another common variation of the word is “cringe-worthy”, which is used to describe something that is so embarrassing or uncomfortable that it makes the viewer or witness cringe in response. This might be used to describe a bad joke, awkward conversation, or a public performance that was poorly executed.

Finally, the word “cringe” can also be used as a verb, as in “I cringed when I heard what he said”. In this form, it is commonly used to describe an involuntary physical response to something uncomfortable or unpleasant.

In summary, the word “cringing” is a useful adjective used to describe someone’s behavior or reaction in response to a particular situation. It has several useful variations that can be used to convey slightly different shades of meaning, such as “self-cringing” and “cringe-worthy”.