shriv·​el | \ ˈshri-vəl How to pronounce shrivel (audio) , especially Southern ˈsri-\
shriveled or shrivelled; shriveling or shrivelling\ ˈshri-​vəl-​iŋ How to pronounce shrivelling (audio) , ˈsri-​ ; ˈshriv-​liŋ , ˈsriv-​ \

Definition of shrivel

intransitive verb

1 : to draw into wrinkles especially with a loss of moisture
2a : to become reduced to inanition, helplessness, or inefficiency

transitive verb

: to cause to shrivel

Examples of shrivel in a Sentence

plants shriveling in the heat
Recent Examples on the Web Vladimir Putin is a strongman ruling a shriveling country. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: China’s precarious future," 31 Oct. 2019 The pan heats up gently, without rising to a ripping hot temperature like a cast iron or stainless steel, which means that the skin won’t seize up and shrivel before the flesh is cooked through. Emma Wartzman, Bon Appétit, "A Nonstick Skillet Is Essential For More Than Just Scrambled Eggs," 31 Oct. 2019 After the first week of transferring them the leaves began changing, curling, turning red, and shriveling. oregonlive, "Is it natural for evergreens to drop their foliage this time of year? Ask an expert," 19 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, my older son has brought home the same shriveled, uneaten orange for two years. Kara Baskin,, "Baked into the start of the school year: Parent angst about packing lunches," 27 Aug. 2019 With its numbers shriveling, the state GOP has debated for years whether the party needs to turn to the political center or right. Washington Post, "Manager: Trump family building ‘dynasty’ for decades to come," 9 Sep. 2019 Those who have already made a claim for cash will have a chance to change their mind now that the reward amount has shriveled. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Equifax Data Breach Victims Drained Its $31 Million Settlement Fund in a Week," 31 July 2019 Even as history itself has become more dramatic, the study of history has shrivelled. The Economist, "The study of history is in decline in Britain," 18 July 2019 But having decided to stick with trading, his position is more difficult given how fees have shriveled and regulatory costs continue to rise. Washington Post, "Barclays Management Shakeup Is a Win for Bramson," 18 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shrivel.' 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 shrivel

1565, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shrivel

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for shrivel

Time Traveler

The first known use of shrivel was in 1565

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Statistics for shrivel

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Shrivel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for shrivel


How to pronounce shrivel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shrivel

: to become dry and wrinkled from heat, cold, or old age
: to cause (something) to become dry and wrinkled


shriv·​el | \ ˈshri-vəl How to pronounce shrivel (audio) \
shriveled or shrivelled; shriveling or shrivelling

Kids Definition of shrivel

: to shrink and become dry and wrinkled

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More from Merriam-Webster on shrivel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shrivel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrivel

Spanish Central: Translation of shrivel

Nglish: Translation of shrivel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrivel for Arabic Speakers

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