dwin·​dle ˈdwin-dᵊl How to pronounce dwindle (audio)
dwindled; dwindling ˈdwin-(d)liŋ How to pronounce dwindle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to become steadily less : shrink
Their savings dwindled to nothing.
a dwindling population

transitive verb

: to make steadily less
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of dwindle in a Sentence

Our energy dwindled as the meeting dragged on. The town's population is dwindling away.
Recent Examples on the Web During the great recession, while the courses themselves maintained their standing among Canada’s best, the fortunes of the club itself began to slide thanks to dwindling membership. Mike Dojc, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Health-care infrastructure in Gaza City is facing near-total collapse as fierce fighting erupts around hospitals with dwindling food, fuel and water supplies. Niha masih, Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2023 In a year of viral country hits sung by angry men, Megan Moroney stakes out a woman’s POV. Watch: In a warehouse in the heart of Los Angeles, a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople maintain more than 80,000 student musical instruments, the largest remaining workshop in America of its kind. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Despite their differences, the two lean on each other while contending with filthy motel rooms, colorism, rampant misogyny, dwindling finances and their own evolving public images. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 6 Nov. 2023 Although aid has been brought into Gaza in recent weeks, the daily delivery of trucks cannot keep up with the demand of more than 2 million people inside Gaza as water and food supplies dwindle. Lawahez Jabari, NBC News, 1 Nov. 2023 As Japan grapples with the consequences of dwindling natural predators, the nation sees an increasing encroachment of animals -- like deer, wild boars, monkeys and bears -- into human territories. Anthony Trotter, ABC News, 31 Oct. 2023 As salmon populations dwindled into the 21st century, the Corps decided to try again, building a small collector on an offshoot of the Willamette. Tony Schick, ProPublica, 31 Oct. 2023 Analysts are watching closely for signals that consumers are pulling back with inflation and interest rates up and pandemic-era savings dwindling. Jennifer Williams-Alvarez, WSJ, 1 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dwindle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of dwindle was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near dwindle

Cite this Entry

“Dwindle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dwindle. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


dwin·​dle ˈdwin-dᵊl How to pronounce dwindle (audio)
dwindled; dwindling ˈdwin-dliŋ How to pronounce dwindle (audio)
: to make or become less

More from Merriam-Webster on dwindle

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