plural noun
with·​ers | \ ˈwi-t͟hərz How to pronounce withers (audio) \

Definition of withers

1 : the ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse — see horse illustration
2 : a part corresponding to the withers in a quadruped (such as a dog) other than a horse

Examples of withers in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Before that stubborn final leaf withers on the branch, here is a hopeful—yet realistic—scenario for Biden’s first year or so in the White House. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "What Now?," 19 Nov. 2020 Their flowers last only a few weeks, as Southern Hemisphere spring withers into summer and the year speeds toward its end. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "Outsiders turned icons, South Africa’s jacarandas spring into bloom," 3 Nov. 2020 Like other Przewalski’s horses, Kurt will grow to weigh between 440 and 750 pounds and will stand somewhere between 4 and 5 feet tall from hooves to withers. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Cloned the Most Endangered Horse in the World—From 40-Year-Old DNA," 26 Oct. 2020 Once the dodder has a tight grip on its host, the anchoring root withers away. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Parasitic Plant Waits for Host’s Signal Before Flowering," 9 Sep. 2020 In the meantime, the economy withers, and jobs disappear, not to return. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Note: Thinking Through Lockdowns," 25 Aug. 2020 Without school plays and assemblies, a technician’s livelihood withers. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "Big Tech’s Domination of Business Reaches New Heights," 19 Aug. 2020 The poor fish’s tongue withers into a useless nub, leaving the mouth vacant for the louse itself to physically take its place, helping its host move food around its mouth and grind big morsels down to size. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fourteen Fun Facts About Love and Sex in the Animal Kingdom," 14 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'withers.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of withers

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for withers

probably from obsolete English wither- against, from Middle English, from Old English, from wither against; from the withers being the parts which resist the pull in drawing a load — more at with

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about withers

Time Traveler for withers

Time Traveler

The first known use of withers was in 1580

See more words from the same year

Statistics for withers

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Withers.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/withers. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for withers


noun plural
with·​ers | \ ˈwi-t͟hərz How to pronounce withers (audio) \

Kids Definition of withers

: the ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse


noun plural
with·​ers | \ ˈwit͟h-ərz How to pronounce withers (audio) \

Medical Definition of withers

1 : the ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse
2 : a part corresponding to the withers in a quadruped other than a horse

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on withers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!