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

Definition of dwindle

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to make steadily less

Keep scrolling for more

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

Once roaming across southeastern Asia, years of poaching have seen their population dwindle to a grand total 63-67 animals, all of which are located within Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Devastating Tsunami Threatens Endangered Rhinos," 28 Dec. 2018 The next year, 63 Democrats rejected Pelosi in the party, a number that dwindled to just four in the final speakership vote. Matthew Green, Vox, "Pelosi won her party’s vote to be speaker. But can she win the vote on the House floor?," 5 Dec. 2018 Bashir said that over time the group dwindled to 31 as many either moved on to other European countries or returned to their country of origin. Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Seattle Times, "After 20-year wait, refugee sees ‘bright future’ in UK," 4 Dec. 2018 But the church members were scared, and the group dwindled to 30. Yanan Wang, Fox News, "Christian heartland opens window into fight for China's soul," 7 Aug. 2018 Winds will be out of the north-northeast around 10 mph early, dwindling to light overnight. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, "PM Update: Excellent conditions this evening ahead of a cool overnight, then superb on Sunday," 7 July 2018 The #Red4Ed Spirit Band returned to amp up the crowd, which had dwindled as the day went on. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "#RedforEd: Arizona educators back to Capitol to rally for school funding," 23 June 2018 There have been other obstacles to overcome, Edwards said, noting that there was a waning of interest in the hike a decade ago when the number of finishers dwindled to seven in 2006. Nelson Coffin, baltimoresun.com, "Take a hike: JFK's 'soft' warning fueled local Boy Scouts' tradition," 6 June 2018 Avila said the search for the top pick has dwindled to a handful of names with a lot of debate and talking in the next few days still to go. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Al Avila, Detroit Tigers have handful of names in mix for No. 1 pick," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dwindle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dwindle

1596, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dwindle

Dictionary Entries near dwindle








Statistics for dwindle

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dwindle

The first known use of dwindle was in 1596

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dwindle



English Language Learners Definition of dwindle

: to gradually become smaller


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

Kids Definition of dwindle

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dwindle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dwindle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dwindle

Spanish Central: Translation of dwindle

Nglish: Translation of dwindle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dwindle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dwindle

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


of or relating to a parable or parabola

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!