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90s Slang You Should Know


[with -er] /ˈwɪð ər/
verb (used without object)
to shrivel; fade; decay:
The grapes had withered on the vine.
to lose the freshness of youth, as from age (often followed by away).
verb (used with object)
to make flaccid, shrunken, or dry, as from loss of moisture; cause to lose freshness, bloom, vigor, etc.:
The drought withered the buds.
to affect harmfully:
Reputations were withered by the scandal.
to abash, as by a scathing glance:
a look that withered him.
Origin of wither
1250-1300; Middle English, perhaps variant of weather (v.)
Related forms
witheredness, noun
witherer, noun
witheringly, adverb
nonwithering, adjective
overwithered, adjective
unwithered, adjective
unwithering, adjective
Can be confused
weather, whether, whither, wither (see synonym study at the current entry)
whither, wither.
1. wrinkle, shrink, dry, decline, languish, droop, waste. Wither, shrivel imply a shrinking, wilting, and wrinkling. Wither (of plants and flowers) is to dry up, shrink, wilt, fade, whether as a natural process or as the result of exposure to excessive heat or drought: Plants withered in the hot sun. Shrivel, used of thin, flat objects and substances, such as leaves, the skin, etc., means to curl, roll up, become wrinkled: The leaves shrivel in cold weather. Paper shrivels in fire. 5. humiliate, shame. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for witheringly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I think the least you say about it the better, Amzi," said Mrs. Waterman witheringly.

    Otherwise Phyllis Meredith Nicholson
  • She murmured a lame excuse, and Miss Harding glared at her witheringly.

  • He had just time to observe Miss Dutton's witheringly patient smile before the lights went out.

    Second String Anthony Hope
  • Id like to see a girl get ahead of me,' retorted Charles, witheringly.

    Atlantic Narratives Mary Antin
  • "Pray do not feel so in the least," said Corporal Jasper, witheringly.

    A Cadet's Honor Upton Sinclair
  • Pointing it out to the man, she said witheringly: 'You ape!'

  • Aggie gave a low moan at this, and Tish eyed her witheringly.

    More Tish Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • She looked at him witheringly, unaware that the word suppressed had been simply "Dolly."

    The Quiver 12/1899 Anonymous
  • Peace glared at her witheringly, and snatched the paper from her hand.

    Heart of Gold Ruth Alberta Brown
British Dictionary definitions for witheringly


(intransitive) (esp of a plant) to droop, wilt, or shrivel up
(intransitive) often foll by away. to fade or waste: all hope withered away
(intransitive) to decay, decline, or disintegrate
(transitive) to cause to wilt, fade, or lose vitality
(transitive) to abash, esp with a scornful look
(transitive) to harm or damage
Derived Forms
withered, adjective
witherer, noun
withering, adjective
witheringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: perhaps variant of weather (vb); related to German verwittern to decay
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 witheringly



1530s, alteration of Middle English wydderen "dry up, shrivel" (c.1300), apparently a differentiated and special use of wederen "to expose to weather" (see weather). Cf. German verwittern "to become weather-beaten," from Witter "weather."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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