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

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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 Gavitt is determined not to let this effort wither like iHoops, a joint venture in 2008 between the N.B.A. and N.C.A.A. that sought to change the culture of grassroots basketball. New York Times, "Why Many Top Hoops Recruits Won’t Be at the N.C.A.A.’s New Showcases," 23 July 2019 Dry and partly withered, the tree parts will continue to decay, much like the beet juice Garon mixes with charcoal to make the large abstract drawings that constitute the bulk of the exhibition. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: Disrupting and denaturing the concept of comfortable at home," 13 Mar. 2020 Energy markets have been hit by a rare crosscurrent: Demand for oil is withering because of concerns that new coronavirus’s spread will weaken global economic growth. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "How the crash in oil prices is playing out around the world," 9 Mar. 2020 The die-off was triggered in 2013 when millions of sea stars along the coast of California withered and died from a mysterious wasting disease. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Giving the ocean some help — California’s new plan to deal with climate change, sea level rise," 26 Feb. 2020 To avoid participants feeling anxious when their plants withered or died, the authors kept more plants at the ready for a swap. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Keeping a plant on your desk can reduce workplace stress, study says," 7 Feb. 2020 Lower body mechanics are enough to support accuracy, though the presence of a good pass rush withers this trait. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "NFL combine quarterbacks: Brian Lewerke a sleeper in 2020 NFL draft?," 19 Feb. 2020 Facebook’s initial push to launch a digital currency withered as its financial-industry partners jumped ship in response to regulatory ire, leaving the social-media giant to regroup and pursue a way forward with the project’s remaining backers. Jeff Horwitz, WSJ, "Facebook Reports Revenue Growth, Rising Expenses," 30 Jan. 2020 With steely clarity in the midst of withering personal agony, the women, most still quite young, painted a terrifying picture of the decade’s darkest moment by simply telling the truth about what Nassar did to them. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal rocked world beyond gymnastics in decade's darkest moment," 15 Dec. 2019

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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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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wither.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wither. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for wither


How to pronounce Wither (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wither

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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