with·​er | \ ˈwi-t͟hər How to pronounce wither (audio) \
withered; withering\ ˈwit͟h-​riŋ How to pronounce withering (audio) , ˈwi-​t͟hə-​ \

Definition of wither

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to become dry and sapless especially : to shrivel from or as if from loss of bodily moisture
2 : to lose vitality, force, or freshness public support for the bill is withering

transitive verb

1 : to cause to wither
2 : to make speechless or incapable of action : stun withered him with a look— Dorothy Sayers



Definition of wither (Entry 2 of 3)

chiefly British


biographical name
With·​er | \ ˈwi-t͟hər How to pronounce Wither (audio) \

Definition of Wither (Entry 3 of 3)

George 1588–1667 English poet and pamphleteer

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Synonyms for wither

Synonyms: Verb

dry, wilt

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Examples of wither in a Sentence


The plants withered and died. shortly after the moon landing, interest in the space program withered

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Qatar’s economy also withered—and a devastating storm in 1925 certainly didn’t help. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Spends a Week in Qatar and Is Dazzled by Doha," 2 Apr. 2019 These two are barely in the episode, and most of their scenes involve withering looks and passive aggression. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bree Just Got Engaged to Someone Who Is Not Roger on Outlander," 14 Jan. 2019 Silverstone, whom pop culture met as a teenager, is 41 now, but with an innate girlishness that age cannot wither nor the cigarettes Bonnie is forever waving disguise. Robert Lloyd, latimes.com, "Alicia Silverstone is that ’70s ‘American Woman’," 6 June 2018 Then Detroit went bankrupt: factories moved; populations withered; city services broke down; short-sighted urban planning proved toxic. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "At the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Tal R Paints the Michigan Of His Dreams," 10 May 2018 Trump is right that the world is a dangerous place and that a country which lets its defense sector wither by blindly following the rules of free trade could wind up at the mercy of powerful enemies. Bloomberg.com, "Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.," 2 Mar. 2018 In Hunchun, another border city, seafood traders say their businesses have withered under a U.N. ban on North Korean seafood exports. Tom Wright, WSJ, "New Doubts Emerge About U.S.-Led Sanctions on North Korea," 16 Sep. 2018 The landscape of presidential nominee coverage is littered with examples of picks who withered under political and media scrutiny, like Harriet Miers under George W. Bush or Tom Daschle under Barack Obama. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Media's biggest Kavanaugh misses: Aspiring hit pieces on Supreme Court pick draw mockery," 21 Aug. 2018 No doubt that whole investigation would have withered on the vine if Bush had not been reelected. Neil Swidey, BostonGlobe.com, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wither


Middle English widren; probably akin to Middle English weder weather

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Statistics for wither

Last Updated

12 May 2019

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Time Traveler for wither

The first known use of wither was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for wither



English Language Learners Definition of wither

of a plant : to become dry and weak


with·​er | \ ˈwi-t͟hər How to pronounce wither (audio) \
withered; withering

Kids Definition of wither

: to shrivel or cause to shrivel from or as if from loss of moisture : wilt

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More from Merriam-Webster on wither

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wither

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wither

Spanish Central: Translation of wither

Nglish: Translation of wither for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wither for Arabic Speakers

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