From Middle English writhen, from Old English wrīþan, from Proto-Germanic *wrīþaną “to weave, twist, turn” (compare Old High German rīdan “to wind, turn”, Old Norse ríða “to wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *wreyt- (“to twist, writhe”). Compare Lithuanian riēsti (“to unbend, wind, roll”).
- (transitive) To twist, to wring (something).
- (transitive) To contort (a part of the body).
- (intransitive) To twist or contort the body; to be distorted.
- 2011 October 1, Phil McNulty, “Everton 0-2 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport:
- The game was engulfed in controversy when Rodwell appeared to win the ball cleanly in a midfield challenge with Suarez. The tackle drew an angry response from Liverpool's players- Lucas in particular as Suarez writhed in agony - but it was an obvious injustice when the England Under-21 midfielder was shown the red card.
- (transitive) To extort.
writhe (plural writhes)
- (rare) A contortion.
- (knot theory) The number of negative crossings subtracted from the number of positive crossings in a knot