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wince

A wince is a facial or bodily expression of pain, disgust, or regret. Think of something you've done that was really, really embarrassing or dumb: now feel your face or take a look in the mirror as you wince at the uncomfortable memory.

A moment of pain or a recollection of something painful can make you wince. It's hard not to have a physical response or a wince with a bad memory or a hurt. And wince is both a verb and a noun, so it can be an action or a result. Sometimes people don’t do anything or have any physical pain, but they wince in discomfort at what someone else does or says, as when no one laughs after a really inappropriate joke.

Definitions of wince
  1. verb
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    synonyms: cringe, flinch, funk, quail, recoil, shrink, squinch
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    types:
    retract, shrink back
    pull away from a source of disgust or fear
    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  2. verb
    make a face indicating disgust or dislike
    “She winced when she heard his pompous speech”
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    type of:
    grimace, make a face, pull a face
    contort the face to indicate a certain mental or emotional state
  3. noun
    a reflex response to sudden pain
    synonyms: flinch
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    type of:
    jump, start, startle
    a sudden involuntary movement
  4. noun
    the facial expression of sudden pain
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    type of:
    facial expression, facial gesture
    a gesture executed with the facial muscles
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