Initially I started looking for the difference between winching and flinching and came to no real answer, as some sites defined the terms as synonymous with shirking away, then other searches resulted in wincing being described solely as a facial expression - followed by others saying this is totally false and that that's a grimace, without offering any real clarification.
From what I could piece together I came to the conclusion that: a) flinching is more subtle and doesn't necessarily have any facial expression b) wincing is similar, although accompanied by a visibly perturbed facial expression c) a grimace is only a facial shift, but one that's worse than a wince.
I'm not really sure if any of this is correct, however.
Also, I can't seem to find an exact explanation of how grimacing and wincing differ, or the exact situation one might be applied to (as some dictionaries said grimacing can be a sign of disapproval - which I don't see, but perhaps I'm exaggerating the expression in my mind). I always imagined grimacing as being a bit worse than wincing, perhaps an opening of the mouth up to the gums, while wincing would only be a few creases in the nose, or something - but again, if you Google the expression you'll get a variety of very pictures for both words, or worse, the same ones.
The weird thing is I can even think of books when these words were used interchangeably, which only adds to my confusion as a non-native speaker.
So to sum up, I really have two questions:
- What are the exact differences between the three terms, and in what situations are they best applicable?
- What's the difference between flinching and wincing as far as facial shifts go (assuming there are any)?