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

The message hit home as factories closed by the thousands in the 1980s and the nation's economy seemed to wither in the face of competition from Japan. Donald Woutat, latimes.com, "Lee Iacocca, father of the Ford Mustang who later rescued Chrysler, dies at 94," 2 July 2019 And then, just as the pair met again on the anniversary of D-Day, that great symbol of their former friendship withered and died. Annalisa Merelli, Quartzy, "The oak sapling the French president gave to Trump is dead, like their friendship," 11 June 2019 At the end of the first season, Daenerys is faced with a difficult choice: Allow her husband to wither in a vegetative state or kill him. Glamour, "Every Time a Woman Has Saved the Day on Game of Thrones," 29 Apr. 2019 Brussels won’t be able to withstand that sort of political pressure, and if and when the moment comes, the EU will deserve at last to wither. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "EU Politicians Are the Worst, Except All the Others," 20 Dec. 2018 This was a time when gay men were battling against the AIDS crisis, when bodies would wither away and, in the midst of everything, gym culture was booming. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Where Is Neil Malcolm Roberts?," 29 June 2019 As the crops withered and his tenants stopped paying rent, Palmerston evicted them but, unlike some other landlords, put them on boats bound for North America. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A storm exposed children’s bones on a Canadian beach, reviving a 170-year-old mystery," 13 June 2019 After all, without a healthy player base that keeps queue times low and activities well populated, a game like Destiny withers until only the tiniest fraction of hardcore players is left. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Bungie unveils big Destiny 2 shift with Shadowkeep expansion and free-to-play version," 6 June 2019 The screen in the station’s community room displayed a picture of Boislard — tall and strong before disease had withered him. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "I-84 Bridge Named To Honor Late Southington Police Detective Boislard," 3 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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Statistics for wither

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

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 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

Comments on wither

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