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verb (used without object)
  1. to become limp and drooping, as a fading flower; wither.
  2. to lose strength, vigor, assurance, etc.: to wilt after a day's hard work.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to wilt.
noun Also wilt disease (for defs 5b, 6).
  1. the act of wilting, or the state of being wilted: a sudden wilt of interest in the discussion.
  2. 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.
  3. 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


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2. wane, droop; ebb, weaken.


verb Archaic.
  1. second person singular present ind. of will1.


[wilt-sheer, -sher]
  1. Also Wilts [wilts] /wɪlts/. a county in S England. 1345 sq. mi. (3485 sq. km). County seat: Salisbury.
  2. one of an English breed of white sheep having long, spiral horns.
  3. Also called Wiltshire cheese. a cylindrical, semihard cheese, moister and flakier than cheddar.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wilts

Historical Examples

  • Then it withers, wilts, and drops off, as most of them have already done.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866


  • Portland they reported should be guarded by 2700 from Dorset and Wilts.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

  • A new chapel was opened at Shrewton, Wilts, November 20, 1834.

  • Wilts, who was borne as he was wont to say 'in the first Olympiad,' scil.

  • And so it was in Wilts, when my grandfather Lyte was a boy; and anciently everywhere.

British Dictionary definitions for wilts


abbreviation for
  1. Wiltshire


  1. to become or cause to become limp, flaccid, or droopinginsufficient water makes plants wilt
  2. to lose or cause to lose courage, strength, etc
  3. (tr) to cook (a leafy vegetable) very briefly until it begins to collapse
  1. the act of wilting or state of becoming wilted
  2. 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


  1. archaic, or dialect (used with the pronoun thou or its relative equivalent) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of will 1


  1. a county of S England, consisting mainly of chalk uplands, with Salisbury Plain in the south and the Marlborough Downs in the north; prehistoric remains (at Stonehenge and Avebury); became a unitary authority in 2009: the geographical and ceremonial county includes Swindon unitary authority (established in 1997). Administrative centre: Trowbridge. Pop (excluding Swindon): 440 800 (2003 est). Area (excluding Swindon): 3481 sq km (1344 sq miles)
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

Word Origin and History for wilts



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