- to draw back, as in retreat or avoidance: to shrink from danger; to shrink from contact.
- to contract or lessen in size, as from exposure to conditions of temperature or moisture: This cloth will not shrink if washed in lukewarm water.
- to become reduced in extent or compass.
- to cause to shrink or contract; reduce.
- Textiles. to cause (a fabric) to contract during finishing, thus preventing shrinkage, during laundering, of the garments made from it.
Origin of shrink
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shrink
Her magical ability to shrink people just by staring at them is also put to great use here.Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ Stomps on the Patriarchy
January 7, 2015
I learned some things I can't unlearn: human kneecaps look like rocks; bones when burnt, shrink and twist.Knowing Where the Bodies Are Buried: An Excerpt From 'Lives in Ruins'
November 14, 2014
Republicans can change their brand, appeal to the electorate, shrink government, grow the economy, and save capitalism.To Make Their Victory Durable, the GOP Must Fix the Minimum Wage
November 6, 2014
The underlying economic factors that cause deficits to shrink often create circumstances that push them to shrink even faster.The Battle of the Deficit Bulge Has Been Won
October 6, 2014
Even as we cheer for her stamina, we shrink from her rapacity.Brecht's Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75
September 10, 2014
And yet, though I shrink from the idea of fighting, I might in some way help those who are.Ballads of a Bohemian
Robert W. Service
Why shrink from us, then, as though we were the spawn of the Evil One?The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
It then begins to shrink and contract with the greatest uniformity.
She was not conscious—how could she be and not shrink from my caress?Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
But yet opening it again, seeing me shrink back—Go, if you will!Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
- to contract or cause to contract as from wetness, heat, cold, etc
- to become or cause to become smaller in size
- (intr often foll by from)
- to recoil or withdrawto shrink from the sight of blood
- to feel great reluctance (at)to shrink from killing an animal
- the act or an instance of shrinking
- slang a psychiatrist
Word Origin and History for shrink
Old English scrincan "to draw in the limbs, contract, shrivel up; wither, pine away" (class III strong verb; past tense scranc, past participle scruncen), from Proto-Germanic *skrink- (cf. Middle Dutch schrinken), probably from PIE root *(s)ker- (3) "to turn, bend."
Originally with causal shrench (cf. drink/drench). Sense of "become reduced in size" recorded from late 13c. The meaning "draw back, recoil" (early 14c.) perhaps was suggested by the behavior of snails. Transitive sense, "cause to shrink" is from late 14c. Shrink-wrap is attested from 1961 (shrinking-wrap from 1959). Shrinking violet "shy person" attested from 1882.