i am looking for a word that describes the action of lowering your head/neck and raising your shoulder as if being hit by a board or in this example, a frying pan.

all i can think of is shrug, but that doesn't sound exactly right.

Cartoon image of a cat whacking another cat in the head with a frying pan

  • 2
    Looks like spiflication to me. :) Or perhaps a mild case of being concertinaed Oct 6, 2014 at 17:45
  • 1
    It’s definitely not a shrug. If getting hit on the head with a frying pan elicits no further reaction from you than a shrug, then you’re quite clearly Superman. Oct 6, 2014 at 17:45
  • I think it is a reflex to protect your head. Can it be a part of shuddering also?
    – ermanen
    Oct 6, 2014 at 18:10
  • I bet the cartoonists had a word for that. But there's no generally accepted English word (or term) for that particular reaction (especially since it doesn't actually occur in real life).
    – Mitch
    Oct 6, 2014 at 18:17
  • 1
    How about cringe? Oct 6, 2014 at 20:23

4 Answers 4


I was going to recommend flinch, but in the process of looking up the definition I found something better:


  1. flinch
  2. to crouch down or draw together
  3. squint
  • 1
    That's not a generally accepted word. And if it were, it wouldn't be for the reaction after being hit on the head with a club.
    – Mitch
    Oct 6, 2014 at 18:15
  • I agree, it's not a word in widespread use. I, for one, hadn't heard of it before today. However, it almost precisely describes what is occurring in the picture, which is in turn quite different from what would actually happen if someone were hit with a club. Oct 6, 2014 at 22:02

You might go with "Duck!" Most people seem to think ducking something is a sort of bowing motion from the waist, but I've never seen anyone do that. When people go to duck something, whether it's a frying pan or a thrown ball, if they aren't ready and expecting it, they usually do something like that motion in the picture.


The victim has been whacked on the head with a frying pan, (he's not ducking to avoid the blow) as a result of which he scrunches (up) his shoulders.

whack: strike forcefully with a sharp blow.
scrunch: become crushed or squeezed into a compact mass
scrunch: v.tr. 1. To crush or crunch. 2. To crumple or squeeze; hunch: scrunched up their shoulders;

source: Oxford Dictionaries and The Free Dictionary


Put your head In your shoulders is what Detective Stanley Dash Called it!! Every time he wanted to say it!!

“Don’t make me put your head in your shoulders!!!”

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