cringe before

cringe before (someone or something)

To shrink away from someone or something, usually out of fear. I cringed before my dad when he caught me sneaking in after curfew.
See also: before, cringe

cringe before someone or something

to cower or recoil in the presence of someone or something. Jeff cringed before the wrath of the policeman.
See also: before, cringe
References in periodicals archive ?
Some of his junior colleagues appeared not to know the refrain, which calls up the spirit of socialist martyrs and in verse five sneers at those who "cringe before the rich man's frown".