- 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 shrinking
Mr. Wynd said the shrinking process includes filling the head with hot sand and boiling it with herbs.Dodo Bones and Kylie’s Poo: Inside London’s Strangest New Museum
November 11, 2014
For the first time in American history, rural areas are shrinking.Andrew Cuomo Ignores Rural New York
November 8, 2014
The already-tiny group of volunteers and health-care workers in West Africa is shrinking.Doctors Without Borders Hits Ebola Breaking Point
Abby Haglage, Kent Sepkowitz
October 21, 2014
Shrinking ad revenue in the digital era has caused outlets to scale back on everything.It Was All a Dream: Drama, Bullshit, and the Rebirth of The Source Magazine
October 14, 2014
If the pictures are new, the news of the Aral Sea shrinking is old.The Aral Sea's Disappearing Act
October 4, 2014
These shrinking hairs, they feared not death, but they seemed to fear Malbone.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
"Not so—not so," said the Dominican, shrinking from those fierce eyes.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
"No, no," she gasped, shrinking into the corner of the carriage.Jennie Baxter, Journalist
"I will listen," she said, shrinking as yet from other speech.Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
My mother did all she could for her, but was much baffled by her reserve and shrinking.The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
- 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 shrinking
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.