Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

dwindle

play
verb, dwin·dle \ˈdwin-dəl\

Simple Definition of dwindle

  • : to gradually become smaller

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of dwindle

dwindleddwindling play \-(d)liŋ, -dəl-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to become steadily less :  shrink

  3. transitive verb
  4. :  to make steadily less

Examples of dwindle in a sentence

  1. Our energy dwindled as the meeting dragged on.

  2. The town's population is dwindling away.



Origin of dwindle

probably frequentative of dwine to waste away, from Middle English, from Old English dwīnan; akin to Old Norse dvīna to pine away, deyja to die — more at die


First Known Use: 1596

Synonym Discussion of dwindle

decrease, lessen, diminish, reduce, abate, dwindle mean to grow or make less. decrease suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity <slowly decreased the amount of pressure>. lessen suggests a decline in amount rather than in number <has been unable to lessen her debt>. diminish emphasizes a perceptible loss and implies its subtraction from a total <his visual acuity has diminished>. reduce implies a bringing down or lowering <you must reduce your caloric intake>. abate implies a reducing of something excessive or oppressive in force or amount <the storm abated>. dwindle implies progressive lessening and is applied to things growing visibly smaller <their provisions dwindled slowly>.

Rhymes with dwindle


DWINDLE Defined for Kids

dwindle

play
verb dwin·dle \ˈdwin-dəl\

Definition of dwindle for Students

dwindleddwindling

  1. :  to make or become less or smaller <… she had suddenly dwindled down to the size of a little doll … — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up dwindle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove perplex soothe reduce
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ