The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Cringe \Cringe\ (kr[i^]nj), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Cringed
(kr[i^]njd); p. pr. & vb. n. Cringing.] [As. crincgan,
cringan, crincan, to jield, fall; akin to E. crank.]
To draw one's self together as in fear or servility; to bend
or crouch with base humility; to wince; hence, to make court
in a degrading manner; to fawn.
When they were come up to the place where the lions
were, the boys that went before were glad to cringe
behind, for they were afraid of the lions. --Bunyan.
Sly hypocrite, . . . who more than thou
Once fawned and cringed, and servilely adored
Heaven's awful monarch? --Milton.
Flatterers . . . are always bowing and cringing.