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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.

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Definitions of writhe from WordNet

writhe (v.)
to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling);
The prisoner writhed in discomfort
Synonyms: wrestle / wriggle / worm / squirm / twist
From wordnet.princeton.edu