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 as programs withered, the harps fell into disrepair. Philly.com, "A rare instrument strikes a chord with Philly students," 31 Mar. 2018 When plants suffer from blight, leaves or branches suddenly wither, stop growing, and die. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Grow Healthy Food By Identifying + Treating These Common Plant Diseases," 21 July 2015 Facing withering criticism, Commissioner Roger Goodell strengthened the league’s rules to include a minimum of a six-game suspension. New York Times, "LeSean McCoy Denies Accusations That Surfaced on Social Media," 10 July 2018 Soli paints pictures that will stick in my head: a snowstorm that nearly kills, soldiers happening upon a patch of berries and eating themselves into bliss, Libbie planting trees in Dakota territory that bloom and wither. Sophie Haigney, SFChronicle.com, "‘The Removes,’ by Tatjana Soli," 21 June 2018 A few years ago, Facebook , Twitter and YouTube found themselves under withering criticism from governments around the world who said their platforms had become a haven for bad actors seeking to spread damaging propaganda. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "Tech Firms Tout Progress on Scrubbing Online Terror Content," 19 June 2018 Instead, with too few workers to fully staff its lucrative landscaping operation, the Downingtown business could wither and die. Jeff Gammage, Philly.com, "Hire American? Without foreign workers, a Chesco garden business could wither," 20 Apr. 2018 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

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

13 Oct 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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