dwin·dle | \ˈdwin-dᵊl \
dwindled; dwindling\-(d)liŋ, -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

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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

San Francisco, with a population of 870,000, is about 6 percent black – one of the smallest percentages among major U.S. cities – and those numbers are dwindling. Janie Har, USA TODAY, "London Breed to be sworn in as San Francisco's first black female mayor," 11 July 2018 Scientists say the vaquita population has dwindled from 567 in a 1997 survey to fewer than 20. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "To save the world's rarest marine mammal, conservationists seek ban on Mexican seafood imports," 11 July 2018 Following those comments, more than 200 players protested during the anthem that weekend before the number of protesters dwindled as the season progressed. CBS News, "NFL players union files grievance over new national anthem policy," 10 July 2018 Just a few days ago, the options for rescue seemed to be dwindling in the face of tough conditions in the cave and bad weather outside it. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Four More Thai Boys Rescued From Cave, Bringing Number Up to 8," 9 July 2018 Visitor numbers were dwindling and the medieval building complex itself was in desperate need of restoration. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "How a Record-Breaking Aerial Tramway Helped Save a Centuries-Old Armenian Monastery," 6 July 2018 Scottish Golf, which promotes the sport, suffered a 40% cut in grants from the Scottish government and the National Lottery in 2017, and revenues from sponsors are dwindling. The Economist, "How women and children might save golf in Scotland," 5 July 2018 Martinez led Ramirez by more than 250 votes on Election Day, but the margin steadily dwindled down to three votes as the registrar continued to count provisional and late-arriving mail-in ballots. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Candidate won't seek recount in battle for slot in San Diego council runoff," 10 July 2018 Water is rising, oxygen is dwindling and a rescue diver has died in the cave complex where a Thai youth soccer team is trapped, giving new urgency to the race to save the 12 boys and their coach. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "A look at Seattle neighborhoods where crime is (and isn’t) up and finally some good news for homebuyers | Friday Morning Brief, July 6," 6 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for dwindle

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dwindle

The first known use of dwindle was in 1596

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More Definitions for dwindle



English Language Learners Definition of dwindle

: to gradually become smaller


dwin·dle | \ˈdwin-dəl \
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

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