wring (one's) withers(redirected from wring their withers)
wring (one's) withers
To force an emotional or conscientious response from someone. Another film blatantly crafted to wring our withers ahead of awards season, its heavy-handed stance on morality and conscience end up coming off as cheap and cynical.
wring someone's withersstir someone's emotions or conscience.
This phrase is taken from Hamlet. In the play-within-the-play scene, Hamlet remarks ironically that there is no need for King Claudius, his usurping uncle, to feel troubled by the plot, remarking: ‘let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung’. The withers are the bony ridge between the shoulders of a horse which is liable to be chafed by an ill-fitting saddle.