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Fidget vs. Squirm: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Fidgeting involves small, often nervous movements or adjustments, while squirming is wriggling or twisting the body, usually due to discomfort or embarrassment.
Fidget vs. Squirm

Key Differences

Fidgeting is characterized by small, restless movements like tapping a foot, often due to nervousness or impatience, whereas squirming implies larger, more uncomfortable movements, often as a reaction to physical or emotional discomfort.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
In social situations, someone might fidget with their hands or objects to relieve mild anxiety, while squirming usually indicates a stronger sense of unease or embarrassment, like shifting in a seat during an awkward conversation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
Fidgeting can be habitual or subconscious, such as playing with hair or a pen, and is not necessarily linked to discomfort, while squirming is generally a more conscious response to an immediate situation, like discomfort in tight clothing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
Children are often seen fidgeting when bored or restless, like tapping their feet, while squirming can be observed when they are in trouble or feel guilty, like wriggling in their chair when being scolded.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
Fidgeting can sometimes be beneficial, helping to increase alertness or concentration, whereas squirming typically signifies a desire to escape or relieve an uncomfortable situation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Movement Type

Small, restless movements.
Larger, twisting or wriggling movements.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Common Causes

Nervousness, boredom, habit.
Discomfort, embarrassment, distress.
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Social Context

Mild anxiety, impatience.
Strong unease, awkwardness.
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Consciousness Level

Often subconscious.
More conscious and reactive.
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Purpose

To relieve nervous energy, increase focus.
To escape or respond to discomfort.
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Fidget and Squirm Definitions

Fidget

Fidgeting often occurs subconsciously.
He didn't realize he was fidgeting with his pen.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Squirm

Squirm can suggest embarrassment or awkwardness.
She squirmed when asked about her mistake.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Fidget

Fidget can imply impatience or boredom.
The students began to fidget during the long lecture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Squirm

Squirm means to wriggle or twist the body.
The child squirmed in his mother's lap.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Fidget

Fidgeting can be a habitual action.
She tends to fidget with her hair when deep in thought.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
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Squirm

Squirming often indicates discomfort.
He squirmed under the tight bandage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Fidget

Fidget means to make small, nervous movements.
He began to fidget with his tie during the interview.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Squirm

Squirm implies a desire to escape an unpleasant situation.
The suspect squirmed under the intense questioning.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Fidget

To behave or move nervously or restlessly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

Squirming can be a response to physical unease.
The audience squirmed in the hot, cramped room.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Fidget

To play or fuss; fiddle
He fidgeted with his notes while lecturing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To twist about in a wriggling, snakelike motion; writhe.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

To cause to behave or move nervously or restlessly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To feel or exhibit signs of humiliation or embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

Fidgets A condition of restlessness as manifested by nervous movements. Often used with the
A bored child who had the fidgets.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

The act of squirming.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

One that fidgets.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

A squirming movement.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

(intransitive) To wiggle or twitch; to move the body, especially the fingers, around nervously or idly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To twist one's body with snakelike motions.
The prisoner managed to squirm out of the straitjacket.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

(transitive) To cause to fidget; to make uneasy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To twist in discomfort, especially from shame or embarrassment.
I recounted the embarrassing story in detail just to watch him squirm.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

A nervous wriggling or twitching motion.
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Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To evade a question, an interviewer etc. en
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

(informal) A person who fidgets, especially habitually.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

A twisting, snakelike movement of the body.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

A toy intended to be fidgeted with.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To twist about briskly with contortions like an eel or a worm; to wriggle; to writhe.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

To move uneasily one way and the other; to move irregularly, or by fits and starts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

The act of wiggling
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

Uneasiness; restlessness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Squirm

To move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling);
The prisoner writhed in discomfort
The child tried to wriggle free from his aunt's embrace
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

A general nervous restlessness, manifested by incessant changes of position; dysphoria.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

A feeling of agitation expressed in continual motion;
He's got the fidgets
Waiting gave him a feeling of restlessness
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Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

Move restlessly;
The child is always fidgeting in his seat
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Oct 19, 2023

Fidget

Fidget describes restlessness through minor movements.
Unable to sit still, he started to fidget in his chair.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What causes someone to fidget?

Nervousness, impatience, or habit can lead to fidgeting.
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Nov 29, 2023

Is fidgeting always a sign of anxiety?

Not always, it can also be a habitual or unconscious action.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Do fidget toys help with fidgeting?

Yes, they can provide an outlet for nervous energy.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Can adults squirm as well as children?

Yes, adults can squirm, often in response to discomfort or awkward situations.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What does it mean to squirm?

To move restlessly, often due to discomfort or embarrassment.
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Shumaila Saeed
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How can one reduce fidgeting habits?

Practicing relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help reduce fidgeting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can squirming be voluntary?

Usually, it's a reactive, involuntary response to discomfort.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Is there a medical condition related to excessive fidgeting?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can involve hyperactive fidgeting behaviors.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Are there fidget toys designed to help with focus?

Yes, there are various fidget toys like stress balls or spinners that can help individuals manage their fidgeting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can fidgeting be a coping mechanism?

Yes, some people use fidgeting as a coping mechanism for stress or anxiety.
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Is there a connection between "squirm" and feeling embarrassed?

Yes, people may squirm when they feel embarrassed or self-conscious, especially in front of others.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is fidgeting considered impolite in social settings?

Excessive fidgeting can be distracting, so it's best to minimize it in formal or quiet settings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is "squirm" a transitive or intransitive verb?

"Squirm" can be both transitive (e.g., "He made her squirm") and intransitive (e.g., "She squirmed in her seat").
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What are common examples of fidgeting behavior?

Examples include tapping one's fingers, bouncing one's leg, or twirling a pen.
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Is "squirm" commonly used in formal writing?

It's more commonly used in informal or creative writing to convey a vivid image.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can "squirm" be used positively?

In most cases, "squirm" is associated with discomfort, but it could be used humorously or playfully in some contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What is the difference between "fidget" and "squirm"?

"Fidget" generally involves small, restless movements, while "squirm" implies larger, more noticeable twisting or wriggling motions.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Do children often squirm in their seats?

Yes, children often squirm when they're restless or impatient, especially in school.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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