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wince at (something)

To grimace, flinch, or tense up as a response (often involuntary) to some source of pain or discomfort or something disagreeable. My daughter winced at the injection, but she didn't cry. I sat through the entire dinner wincing at my dad's terrible jokes.
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wince at something

to shrink back because of something, such as pain. She winced at the pain but did not cry out. After he had just winced at the pain for a while, he finally screamed.
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wince at

To shrink or tense up involuntarily in response to something that causes pain, distress, or discomfort: I winced at this month's phone bill.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Some houses, particularly the Scots Baronial ones, are so ugly it is hard to look at them without wincing. Edwardian snobbery provokes a similar reaction.
Cleese, 59, was helped out of his chauffeur-driven Mercedes yesterday and, wincing visibly, hobbled the 20 paces to the door of his south London home.
Well, now I was sure you said Pittsburgh") Reagan, George ("didn't want to use a subject, wouldn't be prudent, CIA habit of speech") Bush, and Dan ("As Rodney King said, `Why can't we all get a lawn?'") Quayle, it was at first rather refreshing to listen to Bill Clinton because he didn't induce major wincing whenever he spoke.
In the Reagan-Bush era we old-style patriots have done a lot of wincing. We winced when Grenada was invaded to "protect" American medical students who were never in danger.
And if Arsenal fans aren't wincing, they should be.
During that last half of my second pass on the river, my leg still wincing, I certainly felt humbled: I was but a visitor in a place the salmon have called home for thousands of years.
The margin of victory had trainer Michael O'Brien wincing about what the handicapper's reaction is likely to be.