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

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

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Examples of wither in a Sentence

Verb The plants withered and died. shortly after the moon landing, interest in the space program withered
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two Detroit-area brothers who were accused of allowing their severely disabled mother to wither and die will not face murder charges after a unanimous decision by the Michigan Supreme Court. Ed White, Detroit Free Press, "Brothers cleared after winning court decision in Trenton mom's death," 3 Apr. 2021 As the flowers wither, remove them from the plant while leaving the green stems and foliage intact. Derek Carwood, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Grow and Care for Easter Lilies to Enjoy Their Gorgeous Blooms," 5 Mar. 2021 The fire began in an area that’s experienced below-average rainfall, causing the vegetation to wither. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "The winds stoking wildfire in North County could last into Christmas Day," 24 Dec. 2020 But standing pat, continuing to pay Krystkowiak and watch Utah basketball continue to wither from now until the dismal end, would have been frustrating and costlier still. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Larry Krystkowiak is terminated at Utah, mediocrity shoving him out the door," 16 Mar. 2021 However, without dedicating the appropriate resources to change a company’s culture, the new arrivals will wither. Francisca Williams-oni, Forbes, "Skills-Based Hiring Alone Won’t Solve Your Inclusion Problem," 2 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, the foundations of good government needed to deliver on progressive policies — transparency, accountability, efficiency — continue to wither. Paul Ostrow, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis needs reformers, not performers," 28 Feb. 2021 Every gardener has felt the defeat of bringing home a special plant only to watch it slowly wither. oregonlive, "Foolproof plants for aspirational gardeners: Plant it and forget it series," 2 Mar. 2021 And as more nations join, Jin says that China’s de facto veto power may someday wither away. Time, "How Jin Liqun Charted an Independent Course for China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank," 19 Feb. 2021

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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Learn More about wither

Time Traveler for wither

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wither

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wither.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wither. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on wither

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