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[shriv-uh l] /ˈʃrɪv əl/
verb (used with or without object), shriveled, shriveling or (especially British) shrivelled, shrivelling.
to contract and wrinkle, as from great heat, cold, or dryness.
to wither; make or become helpless or useless.
Origin of shrivel
1595-1605; akin to Swedish skroflig uneven, rough (perhaps orig. wrinkled, shrunken), dialectal Swedish skryvla to wrinkle, Old English sceorfan to roughen; see scurf
Related forms
unshriveled, adjective
unshrivelled, adjective
1. shrink. See wither. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for shriveled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A final shake of the flaming mane, and as if Wildfire's fury had shriveled her; had burnt both of them up, she and Bobby vanished.

    The Messenger Elizabeth Robins
  • His face seemed to have shriveled or melted; his features had grown smaller.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • The Captain said that it made the blood run faster in his shriveled old veins to have such gallant comrades.

    Everyday Adventures Samuel Scoville
  • She half-rose, her head thrust forward on her shriveled neck.

  • The Ben Akbar Ali had last seen had shown the sunken cheeks, shriveled neck, worn teeth and stiffened joints of the aging.

    Hi Jolly! James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • I am sure you have seen the corn blades all shriveled on very hot days.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
British Dictionary definitions for shriveled


verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to make or become shrunken and withered
to lose or cause to lose vitality
Word Origin
C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect skryvla wrinkle
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 shriveled



1560s (implied in shriveled), of unknown origin, not found in Middle English; perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish skryvla "to wrinkle, to shrivel"), perhaps ultimately connected with shrimp (n.) and shrink (v.). Related: Shriveled; shriveling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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