shriv·​el | \ˈshri-vəl, especially Southern ˈsri-\
shriveled or shrivelled; shriveling or shrivelling\ˈshri-​vəl-​iŋ, 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

With limited water, trees have shriveled up or succumbed to bark beetle infestations, with some of the most severe declines in central California. Umair Irfan, Vox, "California has 129 million dead trees. That’s a huge wildfire risk.," 1 Sep. 2018 Dermelect Makeover Ridge Filler acts as a base coat and quenches shriveled nail beds, while the Nails Inc. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Gel Nails: 12 Things You Need To Know About Gel Manicures," 17 July 2018 There are baddies who turn out to be goodies, and a goody who turns out to be very bad indeed: an ambitious woman with a soul shrivelled by envy. The Economist, "Bill Clinton’s debut thriller is an exercise in wish-fulfilment," 7 June 2018 The death toll and subsequent government crackdown on the group quickly saw its numbers on the ground shrivel and disperse. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Syrian Muslim Brotherhood revives amid ongoing civil war, lashes out at the U.S. and Israel," 9 July 2018 Even though roughly half of all Indians still toil on the land, agriculture’s share of GDP has steadily shrivelled (see top chart). The Economist, "India’s government claims to subsidise farmers, but actually hurts them," 12 July 2018 Other countries are still continuing a push to phase out the internal combustion engine (the UK just released more details on its plan for a ban by 2040 this week,) so the EV industry isn’t likely to shrivel up and die because a US credit goes away. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "The Terrible Timing of Tesla's Expiring $7,500 Tax Credit," 12 July 2018 Even love couldn't sustain the tiny echeveria given by my boyfriend that shriveled up into a sorry-looking mess. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Confession: Pothos Is the Only Houseplant I Can Actually Keep Alive Because It Refuses to Die," 22 June 2018 Ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica have also shriveled, melting about 455 billion tons of ice into water, according to the NASA satellite. Fox News, "NASA's chilling 30-year-old warning," 19 June 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

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for shrivel

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 \
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

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to enclose within walls

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