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
b : dwindle

transitive verb

: to cause to shrivel

Examples of shrivel in a Sentence

plants shriveling in the heat

Recent Examples on the Web

As communication had shrivelled, misunderstandings mushroomed. The Economist, "The world almost ended in 1983," 5 May 2018 Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, has become a go-to product for farmers, landscapers and homeowners because of its ability to shrivel dozens of different weed species. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Judge Reduces Jury Award Against Bayer’s Roundup to $78.5 Million," 23 Oct. 2018 And to top it all off, most physical-keyboard fans have just had to learn to just get used to on-screen keyboard life as their options for alternatives have gradually shriveled down to almost nothing. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Keyboard Phone Just Will Not Die," 28 Feb. 2019 Moreover, the company’s market value already had shriveled by more than $340 billion—or 31%—since the company last reported results. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Apple Drops Its iPhone Call," 2 Jan. 2019 The offshore yuan bond market has shriveled in size, FTSE data shows, and the yuan’s share of global payments has receded, according to figures from the Swift banking network. Saumya Vaishampayan, WSJ, "Dominant Dollar Bests Challengers," 20 Jan. 2019 Some shriveled flowers and ribbons blew in the wind. Ken Belson, New York Times, "How the Hockey Team in Las Vegas Won Despite Losing," 8 June 2018 That said, the meme that undoubtedly inspired the most renewable joy in my blackened, shriveled heart this year is the tiny Pomeranian dancing to the Ducktales theme song while getting a haircut. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 And heat can lead to a dehydrated husk, which will cause the kernels to shrivel. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "Here's How to Pick the Best Corn on the Cob Every Single Time," 31 July 2018

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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Statistics for shrivel

Last Updated

17 May 2019

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The first known use of shrivel was in 1565

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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

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

Comments on shrivel

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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