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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shrivelled
Historical Examples
  • I looked into the shrivelled, but otherwise normal, face of the Indian woman.

    A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  • And he lifted the shrivelled stump of that finger to his lips and kissed it.

    Father Sergius Leo Tolstoy
  • The bag was made of shrivelled skin of a dusty brown colour.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael
  • His shrivelled old housekeeper was also nowhere to be found.

  • Carolina nodded and her shrivelled monkey face was puckered into a smile.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • I shrivelled visibly under the look of scorn she cast upon me.

  • A Thunder Run man found a tree laden with shrivelled persimmons.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • The strip curled and shrivelled, and slipping from the point, dropped into the fire.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx
  • It was the corpse of a boy blue and shrivelled, like that of one frozen to death.

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • They are shrivelled sticks—like bits of black tea in the canister.

    Proserpina, Volume 1 John Ruskin
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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