Here's part of an article:

Experienced envoys have retired or resigned in droves. John Feeley resigned as ambassador to Panama on March 9th. He is no "squishy hand-wringer". A former Marine helicopter pilot, he oversaw cartel-busting operations as deputy chief of mission in Mexico..

I don't understand what it means when squishy and hand-wringer are combined together. Somebody who likes to wring his hands?

"Hand-wringing" means worried talk/behavior, perhaps somebody who doesn't show worried behavior?

1 Answer 1


The typical image invoked by a "hand-wringer" is someone who is concerned or worried about the situation but unable or unwilling to affect change. "Squishy" is used in the above example to intensify this idea, adding images of weakness and giving way.

Basically an ineffective weakling who may have good intentions but cannot or will not act on them.

  • This answer could be improved with an image or video demonstrating "hand-wringing", though I don't know where a good one would be obtained. Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 18:25
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    media3.giphy.com/media/l1J9QcpxmxO2IeuD6/giphy.gif But it's use is metaphorical in the example and the questioner clearly understands that meaning, they just don't understand how squishy modifies it.
    – Doarn
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 18:42
  • Good point. I still think it's a good reference, but I see now that the questioner didn't need that clarification. Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 18:43
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    I would add a picture but the act can't really be captured in an image and I feel that gifs like the linked above break a certain decorum I'd like to believe some sites should strive for :) Could be an interesting debate.
    – Doarn
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 18:47

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