Fidget vs. Squirm: Difference and Comparison
Fidget refers to small restless movements, often due to nervousness, while squirm involves twisting or moving about due to discomfort or unease.
Difference Between Fidget and Squirm
Fidget and squirm both pertain to bodily movements, but each word emphasizes different types and reasons for such movement. Fidgeting often describes the restless actions people make, typically with their hands or feet, when they're anxious, bored, or impatient. For instance, tapping a pen on a table or shaking one's leg while sitting might be considered fidgeting. On the other hand, squirming is more about trying to adjust one's position due to discomfort, embarrassment, or a similar uneasy feeling. It involves more pronounced and often larger movements.
When observing someone in a classroom or a meeting, you might notice them fidgeting with their jewelry, hair, or perhaps the hem of their clothing. This could indicate nervousness, impatience, or just a habit. Conversely, squirming would be seen as someone constantly shifting in their seat, perhaps due to an uncomfortable chair or an awkward situation they wish to escape from.
In another context, consider a child being told off for some mischief. They might fidget with their fingers, indicating nervousness. But if the same child is sitting on a hot surface, they might squirm, trying to find a position that alleviates the discomfort.
To encapsulate, while both fidget and squirm denote movement, the nature and cause of the movements differentiate them. Fidgeting is more about restless, smaller actions often linked to anxiety or boredom, whereas squirming revolves around pronounced movements due to physical or emotional discomfort.
Fidget vs. Squirm Comparison Chart
Small restless movements
Twisting or moving due to discomfort
Nervousness, boredom, impatience
Discomfort, unease, embarrassment
Type of Movement
Often subtle, with hands or feet
More pronounced, involving larger body parts
In a meeting or classroom
On an uncomfortable surface or situation
Can be a sign of anxiety or mere habit
Indicates pronounced unease
Fidget vs. Squirm Definitions
To be impatient or uneasy.
You can tell she's eager to leave; she's been fidgeting for the past hour.
To move or slide with twisting or wriggling movements.
The worm squirmed in his hand.
To act in an agitated or jittery manner.
Kids tend to fidget when asked to sit still for too long.
To contort one's body in response to discomfort.
The tight shoes made him squirm all day.
To make small, restless movements, especially with the hands or feet.
She began to fidget with her bracelet during the tense conversation.
To wriggle or fidget due to unease or nervousness.
She squirmed in her seat during the awkward conversation.
To behave or move nervously or restlessly.
To twist the body about, especially from discomfort or unease.
The baby began to squirm as she tried to change his diaper.
To play or fuss; fiddle
He fidgeted with his notes while lecturing.
To feel or display discomfort or embarrassment.
He squirmed under the teacher's stern gaze.
To cause to behave or move nervously or restlessly.
To twist about in a wriggling, snakelike motion; writhe.
fidgets A condition of restlessness as manifested by nervous movements. Often used with the
a bored child who had the fidgets.
To feel or exhibit signs of humiliation or embarrassment.
One that fidgets.
The act of squirming.
(intransitive) To wiggle or twitch; to move the body, especially the fingers, around nervously or idly.
A squirming movement.
(transitive) To cause to fidget; to make uneasy.
To twist one's body with snakelike motions.
The prisoner managed to squirm out of the straitjacket.
A nervous wriggling or twitching motion.
To twist in discomfort, especially from shame or embarrassment.
I recounted the embarrassing story in detail just to watch him squirm.
(informal) A person who fidgets, especially habitually.
To evade a question, an interviewer etc. en
A toy intended to be fidgeted with.
A twisting, snakelike movement of the body.
To move uneasily one way and the other; to move irregularly, or by fits and starts.
To twist about briskly with contortions like an eel or a worm; to wriggle; to writhe.
the act of wiggling
A general nervous restlessness, manifested by incessant changes of position; dysphoria.
to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling);
The prisoner writhed in discomfort
The child tried to wriggle free from his aunt's embrace
a feeling of agitation expressed in continual motion;
he's got the fidgets
waiting gave him a feeling of restlessness
The child is always fidgeting in his seat
To toy or play with something, especially out of boredom.
Tom fidgeted with the buttons on his shirt.
Fidget vs. Squirm Frequently Asked Questions
Does squirming usually involve larger movements than fidgeting?
Yes, squirming often involves more pronounced, possibly whole-body, movements.
Can squirming indicate a higher degree of discomfort than fidgeting?
Yes, squirming often denotes pronounced discomfort or embarrassment with noticeable body movements.
What is the primary implication of fidgeting?
Small, often habitual movements usually due to impatience or anxiety.
Can someone transition from fidgeting to squirming?
Yes, a person might escalate from fidgeting to squirming as a situation becomes more uncomfortable.
What situations commonly induce squirming?
Situations that are embarrassing, uncomfortable, or cause distress often induce squirming.
Is squirming often a conscious response?
Squirming is generally a conscious response to discomfort or embarrassment.
Is it possible to fidget unconsciously?
Yes, individuals can fidget unconsciously as a way to manage nervous energy.
What types of situations might cause someone to fidget?
Situations involving impatience, anxiety, or boredom often cause individuals to fidget.
What bodily parts are generally involved in fidgeting?
Fidgeting often involves small movements of the hands or feet.
Does fidgeting always indicate a problem?
No, fidgeting can be a habitual action not necessarily indicating a problem. It can be a way to manage excess energy.
Written byMuneeza Rehman
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