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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
cringe before someone or something
to cower or recoil in the presence of someone or something. Jeff cringed before the wrath of the policeman.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.