verb (used without object)

  1. to draw back or shrink, as from what is dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant.
  2. to shrink under pain; wince.
  3. Croquet. to let the foot slip from the ball in the act of croqueting.

verb (used with object)

  1. to draw back or withdraw from.


  1. an act of flinching.

verb (used with object)

  1. flense.

verb (intr)

  1. to draw back suddenly, as from pain, shock, etc; wincehe flinched as the cold water struck him
  2. (often foll by from) to avoid contact (with); shy awayhe never flinched from his duty


  1. the act or an instance of drawing back
  2. a card game in which players build sequences


  1. a variant of flense

1570s, from obsolete flecche “to bend, flinch,” probably from Old French flenchir “to bend,” probably from Frankish *hlankjan or some other Germanic source (cf. Middle High German linken, German lenken “to bend, turn, lead”), from PIE root *kleng- “to bend, turn” (see link (n.)). Related: Flinched; flinching. As a noun, from 1817.

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