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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shrivelled
Historical Examples
  • The dying part loses sensibility to touch and becomes cold and shrivelled.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • M'Adam was on his feet, pointing with a shrivelled finger, his face diabolical.

    Bob, Son of Battle Alfred Ollivant
  • It was no statue that I saw in that niche, but a shrivelled human form—a hideous sight.

  • I could not even lend you a shrivelled apple, my dear woman.'

    What the Moon Saw: and Other Tales Hans Christian Andersen
  • In the box lay a shrivelled yellow hand—with long tapering and well-manicured nails—neatly severed at the wrist!

    Tales of Chinatown Sax Rohmer
  • It seems to have shrivelled by its great age, like its oldest inhabitants.

    A Village of Vagabonds F. Berkeley Smith
  • It is similarly quite fresh in appearance, and bears the shrivelled remains of the gum.

    Through the Heart of Patagonia H. Hesketh Prichard
  • Towards evening, the tasajo begins to look brown and shrivelled.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
  • After a fortnight had passed he got weak and shrivelled from this kind of food.

  • They were all three shrivelled dried up as mummies, but they were not mummies either.

    Ran Away to Sea Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for shrivelled


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 shrivelled



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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