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 Both colours would be dynamic; new red links would form and old ones perish; some green blobs would grow, others shrivel. The Economist, "Can technology plan economies and destroy democracy?," 18 Dec. 2019 Lap cheong comes in a variety of forms, from fresh and juicy to dried and shriveled (the furthest on the latter end of the spectrum may require a quick soak to bring out its flavor before cooking), but all are extra-fatty and supremely tasty. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Crispy Black Rice and Sweet Chinese Sausage Team Up for the Thanksgiving Side of Our Dreams," 16 Nov. 2019 Thinking of that little white kitten clinging on for dear life with its tiny claws, then shrivelled up and dead. Haruki Murakami, The New Yorker, "Abandoning a Cat," 30 Sep. 2019 Dry skin shrivels plump skin cells, which can lead to premature fine lines and wrinkles. Mayo Clinic News Network,, "Home remedies: Weathering those wrinkles," 25 Oct. 2019 Scottish comeback But a pair of quick, converted tries from WP Nel and substitute Zander Fagerson in the 50th and 56th minutes suddenly had Japan in a mild panic as the lead shriveled to 28-21. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Japan, a day after Typhoon Hagibis, reaches first rugby World Cup quarterfinal," 13 Oct. 2019 The insides will keep cooking from residual heat, so don’t wait until the whole thing has shriveled before removing. Los Angeles Times, "Jean-Georges Vongerichten cooks with fire. Here’s how.," 8 Oct. 2019 Crops have shriveled and the Dominican Republic just closed its border with Haiti, so food that once came from there is in short supply. Vincent Joos, The Conversation, "Gas shortages paralyze Haiti, triggering protests against failing economy and dysfunctional politics," 23 Sep. 2019 Fed solely from groundwater and snow melt, the lake had shriveled during the drought years but has come back strong this year because of ample rains. Roy M. Wallack,, "Weekend getaways: 7 great camping sites within driving distance of L.A.," 26 June 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

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The first known use of shrivel was in 1565

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Statistics for shrivel

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shrivel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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

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 insert between existing elements

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