Cringy or Cringey: Which is Correct?

What is the difference between “cringy” and “cringey?” Though “cringy” and “cringey” both derive from the same root word (“cringe”), both seem to be used online and in writing. However, is there a correct term to use, and if so, which is the correct spelling?

Cringy

Cringy comes from the word “cringe,” which means to be embarrassed about something. According to Oxford Languages, cringy is the adjective, and cringe is the verb.

Cringy is pronounced krin-jee or, if you prefer to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), it’s /ˈkrɪn(d)ʒi/.

How to Use Cringy

Cringy is an adjective that describes something as embarrassing or awkward. It can be used to describe people, things, or situations. For example, you might say, “that was a cringy thing to say,” if you think someone said something embarrassing.

Other Examples of Sentences with “Cringy”

  1. I can’t believe I wore that outfit to school in the old days; it was so cringy.
  2. His dance moves are cringy, but we still love him anyway.
  3. I didn’t mean to be cringy; I was trying to be funny.
  4. That movie was so cringy I had to cover my eyes the whole time.
  5. Parents are cringy when they try to be cool around their kids’ friends.

Cringey

Cringey carries the same meaning as the word “cringy” and is also used as an adjective, according to Oxford Languages.

Cringey is pronounced the same as cringy; krin-jee; or, if you prefer to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), it’s /ˈkrɪn(d)ʒi/.

Examples of Sentences with “Cringey”

  1. My brother is so cringey with his new girlfriend.
  2. I can’t believe I did that; it was so cringey.
  3. His jokes are always cringey, but we still laugh because he’s our friend.
  4. That commercial was so cringey I had to change the channel.
  5. Her outfit is a little cringey, and I would never be caught dead in it.

Cringy or Cringey

Cringey seems to be the more widely used spelling of the two, according to Google Ngram Viewer. The word “cringy” appears to be the informal way of spelling the adjective according to the dictionary, yet it is still acceptable.

Cringy Vs Cringy on Google Ngram Viewer

Cringey Synonyms

Many words have a similar meaning to “cringey” (or “cringy”). Here are some examples:

  1. Awkward
  2. Embarrassing
  3. Uncomfortable
  4. Strange
  5. Weird
  6. Funny
  7. Silly
  8. Goofy
  9. Dorky
  10. Cheesy

Where Does Cringey Come From?

The term “cringey” is believed to have originated in the mid-1980s. It is a combination of the word “cringe” and the suffix “-y,” which gives it an adjective form. “Cringey” (or “cringy”) is synonymous with “cringe-worthy.” The word has appeared on Usenet groups since the 1990s and became widespread on social media and online publications. It is most commonly used in informal speech.

In Conclusion

So, is it “cringy” or “cringey?” Both spellings are correct, but “cringey” seems to be the more popular choice. It’s up to you whether you want to use the informal or formal spelling of the word. Just remember that both spellings come from the same root word, “cringe,” and have the same meaning.

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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

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