What's the best verb out there to describe the erratic movement of an insect's legs.

To give you a clearer picture, just think of an upside down cockroach that is 'moving' its legs frantically and quickly because it can't get back on them.

Browsing some dictionaries, I found the verb 'wiggle', but I'm not sure it conveys the sense of agitation that I would like. Obviously I could fix the problem with an adverb, but I was wondering if I could avoid that with a more specific verb.

1 Answer 1


Plenty of possibilities: writhe, jerk, wave, thrash, flail, squirm.

The cockroach lay on its back, its legs flailing pointlessly.

  • It isn't pointless since they are trying to right themselves.
    – Lambie
    Dec 21, 2021 at 19:05
  • Don't forget "twitch"
    – gotube
    Dec 21, 2021 at 22:47

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