See also: Wince



From Middle English wincen, winchen, from Anglo-Norman *wenchir, Old Northern French *wenchier (compare Old French guenchir), from Frankish *wenkjan, from Proto-Germanic *wankjan. See also German winken.


  • IPA(key): /wɪns/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪns


wince (plural winces)

  1. A sudden movement or gesture of shrinking away.
  2. A reel used in dyeing, steeping, or washing cloth; a winch. It is placed over the division wall between two wince pits so as to allow the cloth to descend into either compartment at will.



wince (third-person singular simple present winces, present participle wincing, simple past and past participle winced)

  1. (intransitive) To flinch as if in pain or distress.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King Iohn”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
      I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 17, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “Perhaps it is because I have been excommunicated. It's absurd, but I feel like the Jackdaw of Rheims.” ¶ She winced and bowed her head. Each time that he spoke flippantly of the Church he caused her pain.
    • 1935, Francis Beeding, “7/2”, in The Norwich Victims[1]:
      The two Gordon setters came obediently to heel. Sir Oswald Feiling winced as he turned to go home. He had felt a warning twinge of lumbago.
  2. (transitive) To wash (cloth), dip it in dye, etc., with the use of a wince.
  3. To kick or flounce when unsteady or impatient.
    A horse winces.


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