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90s Slang You Should Know


[dwin-dl] /ˈdwɪn dl/
verb (used without object), dwindled, dwindling.
to become smaller and smaller; shrink; waste away:
His vast fortune has dwindled away.
to fall away, as in quality; degenerate.
verb (used with object), dwindled, dwindling.
to make smaller and smaller; cause to shrink:
Failing health dwindles ambition.
Origin of dwindle
1590-1600; dwine (now dial.) to waste away (Middle English; Old English dwīnan; cognate with Middle Dutch dwīnen to languish, Old Norse dvīna to pine away) + -le
Related forms
undwindling, adjective
1. diminish, decline, lessen, wane. 3. lessen.
1. increase. 3. magnify.
Synonym Study
1. See decrease. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dwindle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My optimism of the night before was dashed; this voracious growth wasnt going to dwindle away of itself.

  • "Over all, ninety-six per cent for Mr. Smith," dwindle said for the fourth time.

    Master of None Lloyd Neil Goble
  • Everywhere the tendency is for the superior stock to dwindle till it becomes a small aristocracy.

    Outspoken Essays William Ralph Inge
  • "I hope we don't have to use pressure, sir," dwindle replied.

    Master of None Lloyd Neil Goble
  • Questions become great or dwindle into nothingness according as they affect the honour and the good of the Empire.

    Lotus Buds Amy Carmichael
  • In the course of the year the incidents will grow or will dwindle strangely.

    Roundabout Papers William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for dwindle


to grow or cause to grow less in size, intensity, or number; diminish or shrink gradually
Word Origin
C16: from Old English dwīnan to waste away; related to Old Norse dvīna to pine away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dwindle

1590s, apparently diminutive and frequentative of Middle English dwinen "waste away, fade, vanish," from Old English dwinan, from Proto-Germanic *dwinanan (cf. Dutch dwijnen "to vanish," Old Norse dvina, Danish tvine, Low German dwinen), from PIE *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)). Related: Dwindled; dwindling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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