Wriggle vs. wiggle, which of these words do you use to refer to a sudden bodily movement? These words sound and look so similar that most people do not recognize they are different. So, we prepared this post to explain their differences and the correct word to use.
Wriggle means to twist your physique to and from in slow motions, as a caterpillar does. Refer to this word as an alternative for squirm or twist. On the other hand, wiggle means to move back and forth irregularly, like a dog moving its tail. Use this term as the alternative for "shake" or "jiggle."
To most people, these words look like one is correct while the other is a wrong alternative. So, many ask, which is the correct one to use in writing or conversations? Worry no more because you will find the answer in this post.
Definitions of Wriggle and Wiggle
At first glance, these words look the same. However, if you look closely, you will realize that one has an extra letter, "r," which the other does not have. Besides the additional letter, these words do not have the same definition. Below are the definitions for each term. Read keenly to be able to differentiate them.
Definition of Wriggle
Wriggle means to move to and from with twisting, turning, and writhing motions. Apply this word as the verb for "to move or continue with twisting movements." For example, in a sentence, "You can wriggle into that sleeping bag if the floor bed is not comfortable enough."
Wriggle also means to cause something to move in writhing motions, like a worm or snake. For example, "Wait here as I wriggle the pool noodle into the opening on the wall to see how far it goes."
According to sources, "wriggle" comes from the Middle Low German word, "wrigglen," meaning "to turn." In the late 15th century, linguists translated the word to Old English "wrigian," meaning "to turn or go forward." That is an indication that "wriggle" has a rich history.
Definition of Wiggle
Wiggle means to move irregularly back and forth or from side to side. Use this word as the verb for moving quickly and irregularly from side to side. For example, in a sentence, "My puppy loves to wiggle his tail when you hug him."
Wiggle is also the noun for a rapid movement in alternating or opposite directions. The movements can be regular or irregular. For instance, I always wiggle my purse back and forth when walking alone while in deep thought."
Figuratively, wiggle refers to an alternating state of characteristics. That means the attributes of something, someone, or nature keep changing. For example, in sentences, "Mary's mood often wiggles whenever the weather changes, making her hard to deal with."
Wiggle originates from the early 13th century Middle Dutch "wigelen," meaning "to rock, wag, or move back and forth." Its first recorded application was as a noun for "rapid movements in alternating directions" back in 1816.
How to Properly Use Wriggle and Wiggle in a Sentence
As long as you know each word's definition and proper spelling, you should be good at using them in sentences. Nonetheless, we prepared the sections below to help you use these words in sentences.
How and When to Use Wriggle
You can use this word as a noun for "short to and fro writhing movements." As a noun, the word can serve as your sentence's subject. For example, "The wriggle got me in trouble with my supervisor." As a noun, you can also use its plural form, "wriggles." For example, in sentences, "The wriggles of the worms are hard to miss."
Also, use "wriggle" as a verb when referring to body twists and turns. For example, in a sentence, "The pool noodle will wriggle into space if you use enough force.'
You can use various forms of the word as a verb, like the past tense, "wriggled." For example, in a sentence, "She wriggled into the sleeping bag as we ate."
Additionally, use its third-person singular present indicative form, "wriggles." Read this sentence to understand, "The worm wriggles out of his cage so easily, you can hardly notice it."
Further, use the present, past participle form, "wriggling." In a sentence, "Wriggling into that bag is not as easy as it looks." The word's past participle is "wriggled." In a sentence, "We wriggled our noses because of how scratchy they felt."
How and When to Use Wiggle
Wiggle is a verb. Therefore, use it in a sentence to describe rapid back and forth or side-to-side movements. For example, in a sentence, "Watch how Joyce's hips wiggle as Jane walks towards her crush."
You can also use its past tense or past participle word form, "wiggled." For example, "Her purse wiggled as she skipped along the sidewalk."
The word also applies in the present participle form, "wiggling." For example, "My dog was wiggling her tail when I found her staring at the poodle next door."
Note that wiggle is a noun for a rapid movement in opposite courses. So, you can use it in plural or singular form in sentences. For example, "The girls passed the boys with sexy wiggles."
Lastly, use this word in sentences as a noun for "an altering state." This sentence example puts that into context, "The climate wiggles are not as scary as the news describes them.
Wriggle vs Wiggle: Some Differences and Much More
The critical difference is that wriggle means twisting, bending, or turning as you move, while wiggle means back and form in opposite directions regularly or irregularly.
The word "wriggle" has two syllables, "wrig" and "gle." On the other hand, wiggle also has two syllables, "wig" and "gle." Another significant difference between these words is their pronunciation.
The pronunciation for wriggle is \ˈri-gəl\, while the pronunciation for wiggle is \ˈwi-gəl\. So, the pronunciations for the first syllables differ because the "w" in wriggle is silent, while the one in wiggle is not. The second syllables feature the same pronunciation.
List of Examples of Wriggle and Wiggle Use in Sentences
Are you looking for example sentences featuring the words "wriggle" and "wiggle?" Look no further because we have all that below.
Example sentences of wriggle
- My mum performs a nesting wriggle from time to time.
- A harness is better for your energetic animals since they cannot wriggle out.
- Please try putting your arms together, then wriggle into the hole on the fence until you reach the keys.
- There isn't enough wriggle room for new changes in the company because of its authoritarian leadership.
- I tried to wriggle free of the harness for hours before Simon came to my rescue.
Example sentences of wiggle
- Jane huffed in my direction and proceeded to wiggle her legs until I asked about her new job.
- Let us turn the music and wiggle the night away.
- The sexy wiggle caught Matthew's attention even though he tried ignoring me afterward.
- Please check the strings to ensure they do not wiggle during the performance.
- Mum asked me to wiggle my toes to ensure the space up front was enough.
Do you think the words "wiggle" and "wriggle" look confusing because of their spelling? Well, there is more to that because their definitions will confuse you even more. So, we created this post after extensive wriggle vs. wiggle research to ensure that the differences are as straightforward as possible. Both words are correct to use as long as you understand their meanings and how to apply them in sentences. Feel free to share your thoughts about the two terms.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.