Even flinching isn't the best way to describe it.

Example: a person will take a sip of a strong alcoholic beverage (take for instance, straight whiskey) and then will proceed to make that iconic face - one where they bare their teeth from the sting of the alcohol. This is usually followed by an inhale through the teeth. All the while, they might be shaking their head from side-to-side and sometimes even close their eyes.

Is there a specific term for this or a common phrase? Perhaps, even an idiom?

Example sentence would be:

After taking a shot of sour apple whiskey, Gus (insert word/phrase here)ed at the overwhelming taste.

This happens several times throughout my novel and I'm curious for if there's a better way, more direct way, to describe it.

  • 1
    Have you considered "grimace"?
    – Tim Foster
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


I believe the word you seek may be "wince". Let me add the word "recoil" which is also fitting.

"After taking a shot of sour apple whiskey, Gus winced at the overwhelming taste."

"After taking a shot of sour apple whiskey, Gus recoiled at the overwhelming taste."



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