shrink

verb
\ ˈshriŋk How to pronounce shrink (audio) , especially Southern ˈsriŋk\
shrank\ ˈshraŋk How to pronounce shrank (audio) , ˈsraŋk \ or shrunk\ ˈshrəŋk How to pronounce shrunk (audio) , ˈsrəŋk \; shrunk or shrunken\ ˈshrəŋ-​kən How to pronounce shrunken (audio) , ˈsrəŋ-​ \; shrinking

Definition of shrink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to contract or curl up the body or part of it : huddle, cower
2a : to contract to less extent or compass
b : to become smaller or more compacted
c : to lose substance or weight
d : to lessen in value : dwindle
3a : to recoil instinctively (as from something painful or horrible) shrank from the challenge
b : to hold oneself back : refrain did not shrink from telling the truth

transitive verb

: to cause to contract or shrink specifically : to compact (cloth) by causing to contract when subjected to washing, boiling, steaming, or other processes

shrink

noun

Definition of shrink (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of shrinking
2 : shrinkage
3 [ short for headshrinker ] : a clinical psychiatrist or psychologist

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shrink

Verb

shrinkable \ ˈshriŋ-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce shrinkable (audio) , ˈsriŋ-​ \ adjective
shrinker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for shrink

Synonyms: Verb

compress, condense, constrict, contract

Antonyms: Verb

balloon, expand, snowball, swell

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for shrink

Verb

contract, shrink, condense, compress, constrict, deflate mean to decrease in bulk or volume. contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length. caused her muscles to contract shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions. the sweater will shrink when washed condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content. condense the essay into a paragraph compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance. compressed cotton into bales constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter. the throat is constricted by a tight collar deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas. deflate the balloon

recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail mean to draw back in fear or distaste. recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust. recoiled at the suggestion of stealing shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice. shrank from the unpleasant truth flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution. faced her accusers without flinching wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (such as a start or recoiling). winced in pain blench implies fainthearted flinching. stood their ground without blenching quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear. quailed before the apparition

Examples of shrink in a Sentence

Verb

The sweater shrank when it was washed. Meat shrinks as it cooks. The town's population shrank during the war. Hot water shrank the sweater. The treatment should shrink the tumor. He shrank in horror when he saw the dead cat.

Noun

He is seeing a shrink.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Choosing to Remember These eight veterans are part of a shrinking group. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "‘We’re Still in the Same Boat.’ As the World Marks 75 Years Since D-Day, the Men Who Were There Look Back—and Ahead," 5 June 2019 The company's shrinking footprint and its cash challenges have fueled doubts about the sustainability of the dividend. Richard Clough, chicagotribune.com, "GE plunges most in six months as CEO sees no 'quick fix' to woes," 23 May 2018 Microsoft has taken all of the good bits from the Surface Pro and put them into a dryer and shrunk them to create the Surface Go. Tom Warren, The Verge, "The Surface Go is Microsoft’s hybrid PC dream made real," 8 Aug. 2018 No one thought Whiteside’s game and a center’s value would shrink in proportion to his maximum, $98 million contract. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: Can Pat Riley find a summer miracle for a roster that needs one? | Commentary," 18 June 2018 FlatRate packs dishes vertically to help avoid breakage, for instance, and uses shrink wrap and blankets to cover sofas. Daily Intelligencer, "Expert Tips to Make Moving Day Seamless," 7 June 2018 Turkey, which was one of the Group of 20’s fastest-growing economies until the middle of last year, is beset by shrinking industrial output, rising unemployment and double-digit inflation. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "A Craze for Atatürk Gives New Cachet to Turkey’s Founding Father," 22 Feb. 2019 Where 2018 was about shrinking or finessing the notch, this coming year will show us what the successor to the notch will look like. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "2018 was a weird notch year — what’s next?," 18 Dec. 2018 That’s the message from the Federal Aviation Administration, which said as emphatically as skillfully fashioned legal jargon can describe Tuesday, that squeezing the nation’s expanding bottoms into shrinking airline seats is not its problem. Ashley Halsey Iii, Washington Post, "FAA tells airline passengers ‘We’re a safety agency, not a creature comfort agency’," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Newsletter Sign-up After a plant closes, those employees are left playing musical chairs, hoping to land a spot at another nuclear plant even as that job pool shrinks. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "High-Paying Jobs in Nuclear Power Aren’t Looking So Safe Anymore," 28 Dec. 2018 Once the egg is released, the empty follicle shrinks to form what's called a corpus luteum, which is supposed to make hormones to get ready for the next egg. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Kate Beckinsale Reveals She Went to the Hospital for a Ruptured Ovarian Cyst," 28 Jan. 2019 This started the shrink, integrate, shrink, integrate, rinse, repeat motion that’s still going strong today. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "The Chip That Changed the World," 26 Aug. 2018 The maximum amount of daylight is of course the first day of summer, and after that, the daylight slowly shrinks, which nobody likes to think about because some of the kids won’t even be out of school yet. Dave Epstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Good news: 8 p.m. sunsets begin this week," 17 May 2018 Unfortunately for Ko, as the big satellite market shrinks, the pool of launchers is expanding. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry," 15 Nov. 2018 But as luxury goods prices continue to rise, and the number of one-percenters who move the needle shrinks, those breathing less rarefied air might be astonished to learn just how thrilling the rides have become for VVIPs. Horacio Silva, Town & Country, "The Experience Wars: Inside the Furious Fight for the Affections (and Dollars) of the World's Biggest Spenders," 20 Sep. 2018 Not long after the match begins, a safe zone appears that steadily shrinks, forcing players into closer and closer confrontation, until only one is left standing. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: War games, now with battle royale!," 19 Oct. 2018 The country has also seen its competitive edge in sectors such as automobiles, electronics and shipbuilding shrink as China steps up. Kwanwoo Jun, WSJ, "South Korea’s Moon Looks to Reclaim Support With Plan for Big Spending Increase," 28 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shrink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of shrink

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shrink

Verb

Middle English, from Old English scrincan; akin to Middle Dutch schrinken to draw back

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shrink

Statistics for shrink

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shrink

The first known use of shrink was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shrink

shrink

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shrink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become smaller in amount, size, or value
: to make (something) smaller in amount, size, or value
: to quickly move away from something shocking, frightening, or disgusting

shrink

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shrink (Entry 2 of 2)

informal : a psychiatrist or psychologist

shrink

verb
\ ˈshriŋk How to pronounce shrink (audio) \
shrank\ ˈshraŋk \ or shrunk\ ˈshrəŋk \; shrunk or shrunken\ ˈshrəŋ-​kən \; shrinking

Kids Definition of shrink

1 : to make or become smaller The sweater shrank when it got wet.
2 : to curl up or move back in or as if in fear or pain Just the thought of all this made Tom shrink back uncomfortably in his chair.— Andrew Clements, Frindle
3 : to refrain from doing something especially because of difficulty or unpleasantness He did not shrink from telling the truth.

shrink

noun
\ ˈshriŋk How to pronounce shrink (audio) \

Medical Definition of shrink

: a clinical psychiatrist or psychologist

called also headshrinker

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on shrink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shrink

Spanish Central: Translation of shrink

Nglish: Translation of shrink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrink for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shrink

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!