Synonym Chooser

How is the word shrink different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of shrink are compress, condense, constrict, contract, and deflate. While all these words mean "to decrease in bulk or volume," shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions.

the sweater will shrink when washed

When would compress be a good substitute for shrink?

The meanings of compress and shrink largely overlap; however, compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance.

compressed cotton into bales

When might condense be a better fit than shrink?

The synonyms condense and shrink are sometimes interchangeable, but condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content.

condense the essay into a paragraph

When could constrict be used to replace shrink?

Although the words constrict and shrink have much in common, constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter.

the throat is constricted by a tight collar

When can contract be used instead of shrink?

The words contract and shrink can be used in similar contexts, but contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length.

caused her muscles to contract

In what contexts can deflate take the place of shrink?

While the synonyms deflate and shrink are close in meaning, deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas.

deflate the balloon

Thesaurus Entries Near shrink

Cite this Entry

“Shrink.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

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