cringe

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cringe away from (someone or something)

To move away from someone or something, usually out of fear. I cringed away from the snake and prayed that it wouldn't see me.
See also: away, cringe

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 away from someone or something

 and cringe from someone or something
to pull back or away from someone or something, as from fear. The child cringed away from the teacher. Why did you cringe away from the dentist's chair? The cat cringed from the fire. The child cringed from the huge dog.
See also: away, 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 ?
Osborne said: "I don't mean that I feel shame for it, but I cringe because it's embarrassing, looking back at photos of yourself dressed up like a penguin.
"Now I absolutel cringe because all the girls look so fit, tanned and muscular.
NOT enough has been written about the power of the cringe in comedy.
As homeowners rev their lawnmower engines this spring, nature cringes. A well-groomed carpet of grass may be nice to look at, but popular gas-powered mowers pollute the air with noxious fumes and plenty of noise.
June cringes, dodges Joe's touch, looks like he's about to bolt any second, and yet remains tethered to this stranger by the handcuffs of a desire he can't name but can only fumblingly reveal.
One cringes to think of a Jewish member of the audience, especially a young person, hearing Shylock, the moneylender, called "the dog Jew" and seeing him agree, under duress, to convert to Christianity at the end of the famous trial scene.
Tucker Carlson cringes at "a meltdown" he had on a defunct chat show.