Etymology
Advertisement
writhe (v.)
Old English wriðan (transitive) "to twist or bend," earlier "to bind or fetter," from Proto-Germanic *writhanan (source also of North Frisian wrial, Old High German ridan, Old Norse riða, Middle Swedish vriþa, Middle Danish vride), from PIE *wreit-, from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend." Intransitive, of the body or limbs, "move in a twisting or tortuous manner," from c. 1300. Related: Writhed; writhing.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
wreathe (v.)
1520s (transitive), a back-formation from wrethen, Middle English past participle of writhe. Intransitive sense from 1580s. Related: Wreathed; wreathing.
Related entries & more 
*wer- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root forming words meaning "to turn, bend."

It forms all or part of: adverse; anniversary; avert; awry; controversy; converge; converse (adj.) "exact opposite;" convert; diverge; divert; evert; extroversion; extrovert; gaiter; introrse; introvert; invert; inward; malversation; obverse; peevish; pervert; prose; raphe; reverberate; revert; rhabdomancy; rhapsody; rhombus; ribald; sinistrorse; stalwart; subvert; tergiversate; transverse; universe; verbena; verge (v.1) "tend, incline;" vermeil; vermicelli; vermicular; vermiform; vermin; versatile; verse (n.) "poetry;" version; verst; versus; vertebra; vertex; vertigo; vervain; vortex; -ward; warp; weird; worm; worry; worth (adj.) "significant, valuable, of value;" worth (v.) "to come to be;" wrangle; wrap; wrath; wreath; wrench; wrest; wrestle; wriggle; wring; wrinkle; wrist; writhe; wrong; wroth; wry.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vartate "turns round, rolls;" Avestan varet- "to turn;" Hittite hurki- "wheel;" Greek rhatane "stirrer, ladle;" Latin vertere (frequentative versare) "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed," versus "turned toward or against;" Old Church Slavonic vrŭteti "to turn, roll," Russian vreteno "spindle, distaff;" Lithuanian verčiu, versti "to turn;" German werden, Old English weorðan "to become;" Old English -weard "toward," originally "turned toward," weorthan "to befall," wyrd "fate, destiny," literally "what befalls one;" Welsh gwerthyd "spindle, distaff;" Old Irish frith "against."

Related entries & more 
squirm (v.)
1690s, originally referring to eels, of unknown origin; sometimes associated with worm or swarm, but perhaps imitative. Figurative sense "to be painfully affected, to writhe inside" is from 1804. Related: Squirmed; squirming. As a noun from 1839.
Related entries & more 
throe (n.)
c. 1200, throwe "pain, pang of childbirth, agony of death," of uncertain origin, possibly from Old English þrawan "twist, turn, writhe" (see throw (v.)), or altered from Old English þrea (genitive þrawe) "affliction, pang, evil; threat, persecution" (related to þrowian "to suffer"), from Proto-Germanic *thrawo (source also of Middle High German dro "threat," German drohen "to threaten"). Modern spelling first recorded 1610s. Related: Throes.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
wrench (v.)
Old English wrencan "to twist," from Proto-Germanic *wrankjan (source also of Old High German renken, German renken "to twist, wrench," Old English wringan "to wring"), from PIE *wreng- "to turn" (source also of Sanskrit vrnakti "turns, twists," Lithuanian rengtis "to grow crooked, to writhe"), nasalized variant of *werg- "to turn" (source also of Latin vergere "to turn, tend toward"), from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend." Related: Wrenched, wrenching.
Related entries & more 
toil (n.1)
"hard work," c. 1300, originally "turmoil, contention, dispute," from Anglo-French toil (13c.), from toiler "agitate, stir up, entangle, writhe about," from Old French toeillier "drag about, make dirty" (12c.), usually said to be from Latin tudiculare "crush with a small hammer," from tudicula "mill for crushing olives, instrument for crushing," from Latin tudes "hammer," from PIE *tud-, variant of *(s)teu- "to push, stroke, knock, beat" (see obtuse). Sense of "hard work, labor" (1590s) is from the related verb (see toil (v.)).
Related entries & more 
spin (v.)
Old English spinnan (transitive) "draw out and twist fibers into thread," strong verb (past tense spann, past participle spunnen), from Proto-Germanic *spenwan (source also of Old Norse and Old Frisian spinna, Danish spinde, Dutch spinnen, Old High German spinnan, German spinnen, Gothic spinnan), from PIE *spen-wo-, suffixed form of root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin."

Intransitive senses of "to form threads from fibrous stuff; to twist, writhe" developed in late Old English. Transitive sense of "cause to turn rapidly" is from 1610s; intransitive meaning "revolve, turn around rapidly" first recorded 1660s. Meaning "attempt to influence reporters' minds after an event has taken place but before they have written about it" seems to have risen to popularity in the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign; as in spin doctor, first attested 1984.
Related entries & more 
throw (v.)

"to project, propel," c. 1300, from Old English þrawan "to twist, turn, writhe, curl," (past tense þreow, past participle þrawen), from Proto-Germanic *threw- (source also of Old Saxon thraian, Middle Dutch dræyen, Dutch draaien, Old High German draen, German drehen "to turn, twist;" not found in Scandinavian or Gothic), from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn," with derivatives referring to twisting.

Not the usual Old English word for "to throw" (weorpan, related to warp (v.) was common in this sense). The sense evolution may be via the notion of whirling a missile before throwing it. The sense of "put by force" (as in throw in jail) is first recorded 1550s; that of "confuse, flabbergast" is from 1844; that of "lose deliberately" is from 1868. To throw a party was in U.S. college slang by 1916.

To throw the book at(someone) is 1932, from notion of judge sentencing a criminal from a law book full of possible punishments. To throw (one's) hat in the ring "issue a challenge," especially to announce one's candidacy, first recorded 1917. To throw up "vomit" is first recorded 1732. To throw (someone) off "confuse by a false scent" is from 1891.

Related entries & more