with·er | \ ˈwi-t͟hər \
withered; withering\ˈwit͟h-riŋ, 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 \

Definition of Wither (Entry 3 of 3)

George 1588–1667 English poet and pamphleteer

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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

But experts say this level of cooperation could wither if Trump’s China tariffs remain in place. Matthew Garcia, Washington Post, "What A U.S.-China Trade War Could Mean For The Opioid Epidemic," 9 July 2018 Known as a ruthless political operator, Anaya has launched withering attacks on both the PRI and López Obrador. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Your Complete Guide to Mexico's 2018 Elections," 29 June 2018 After injuries to Adrian Peterson and most of the offensive line withered the Vikings’ ground game to the worst in the league last season, the Vikings invested in running the ball this offseason. Jenny Vrentas, SI.com, "The Vikings Have Made It Work With Case Keenum at QB—and Pat Shurmur Deserves the Credit," 12 Jan. 2018 Ozone is a common air pollutant that can cause a wide range of symptoms in susceptible plants, including withered leaves on citrus and grapes and tipburn on conifers. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Grow Healthy Food By Identifying + Treating These Common Plant Diseases," 21 July 2015 The public response to this announcement was withering—and under threats of mass protest, Trump delayed his visit to England until now. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A Brief History of Donald Trump’s Controversial Interactions with the British Royal Family," 9 July 2018 Eventually, though, the future proved to be so far away that the fantasy withered, and VR took its place alongside Pogs and gratuitously transparent beverages as a craze that was doomed never to see the next millennium. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "VR Is Back in Pop Culture—As a Warning," 29 June 2018 Even the once reliable Penske-Ganassi rivalry seems to have withered, as the paddock shows nothing but reverence for championship leader Scott Dixon, while the young, talented Ed Jones offends few with his steady driving and quiet demeanor. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar midseason review, part II: What's gone wrong," 15 June 2018 What blooms in May can easily wither and wilt by autumn. Bob Ford, Philly.com, "Eagles know when to hold 'em, know when to Foles 'em | Bob Ford," 28 May 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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Learn More about wither

Statistics for wither

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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