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[wilt] /wɪlt/
verb (used without object)
to become limp and drooping, as a fading flower; wither.
to lose strength, vigor, assurance, etc.:
to wilt after a day's hard work.
verb (used with object)
to cause to wilt.
noun, Also, wilt disease (for defs 5b, 6).
the act of wilting, or the state of being wilted:
a sudden wilt of interest in the discussion.
Plant Pathology.
  1. the drying out, drooping, and withering of the leaves of a plant due to inadequate water supply, excessive transpiration, or vascular disease.
  2. a disease so characterized, as fusarium wilt.
a virus disease of various caterpillars, characterized by the liquefaction of body tissues.
Origin of wilt1
1685-95; dialectal variant of wilk to wither, itself variant of welk, Middle English welken, probably < Middle Dutch welken; compare German welk withered
2. wane, droop; ebb, weaken.


[wilt] /wɪlt/
verb, Archaic.
second person singular present ind. of will1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wilting
Historical Examples
  • Instinctively, like a wilting plant, the young form straightened and freshened until the man stopped looking at the stars.

    Under the Law Edwina Stanton Babcock
  • As you have foreseen, I felt suddenly the wilting of my will.

    The Blue Wall Richard Washburn Child
  • She chuckled, and Freddie, who had been wilting on the fender, perked up.

    Jill the Reckless P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse
  • The little mountain blossom was wilting and fading slowly away.

    'Smiles' Eliot H. Robinson
  • Men were mopping their faces; some of the debutantes looked like wilting roses; the faces of some of the older women were shining.

    The Story Of Julia Page Kathleen Norris
  • Was not a whole family broken and wilting for lack of means to transplant it?

    A Bookful of Girls Anna Fuller
  • After cutting, the asparagus should be removed out of the sun as soon as possible to prevent its wilting and discoloring.

  • Now she was wilting—how many gardenias had she seen droop, turn brown.

    Linda Condon Joseph Hergesheimer
  • And now suddenly this light was dimmed; his laurels were wilting.

    The Raid Of The Guerilla Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)
  • "It seemed like a great tomb, with its thousands of wilting roses," she said.

    Mariposilla Mary Stewart Daggett
British Dictionary definitions for wilting


to become or cause to become limp, flaccid, or drooping: insufficient water makes plants wilt
to lose or cause to lose courage, strength, etc
(transitive) to cook (a leafy vegetable) very briefly until it begins to collapse
the act of wilting or state of becoming wilted
any of various plant diseases characterized by permanent wilting, usually caused by fungal parasites attacking the roots
Word Origin
C17: perhaps variant of wilk to wither, from Middle Dutch welken


(archaic or dialect) used with the pronoun thou or its relative equivalent a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of will1
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 wilting



1690s, probably an alteration of welk "to wilt," probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German welken "to wither," cognate with Old High German irwelhen "become soft." Related: Wilted; wilting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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