If you fainted or threw up at the sight of frog intestines in biology class, you’re squeamish — easily nauseated or shocked by unpleasant, icky things. No horror movies for you!

We get squeamish from the Anglo-French word escoimous, meaning disdainful or shy. It can mean shy of blood or gore, or less often, it is used to describe a prissy kind of fear of confrontation with others. How can you become a heart surgeon if you’re squeamish enough to faint every time you get a paper cut? If you’re squeamish about confronting the noisy neighbors, why not slip a note under their door asking them to pipe down?

Definitions of squeamish
  1. adjective
    excessively fastidious and easily disgusted
    “so squeamish he would only touch the toilet handle with his elbow”
    synonyms: dainty, nice, overnice, prissy
    giving careful attention to detail; hard to please; excessively concerned with cleanliness
Word Family