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[ring-kuh l] /ˈrɪŋ kəl/
a small furrow or crease in the skin, especially of the face, as from aging or frowning.
a temporary slight ridge or furrow on a surface, due to contraction, folding, crushing, or the like.
verb (used with object), wrinkled, wrinkling.
to form wrinkles in; corrugate; crease:
Don't wrinkle your dress.
verb (used without object), wrinkled, wrinkling.
to become wrinkled.
Origin of wrinkle1
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (noun), back formation from wrinkled, Old English gewrinclod, past participle of gewrinclian to wind round; perhaps akin to wrick, wrench Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wrinkling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Well," she said, compressing her lips, and wrinkling her forehead in resignation.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • "Oh, this dreadful war," Mullally exclaimed, wrinkling his features.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • Judith as she kissed him was wrinkling her smooth brows at him.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther
  • Mayo studied his passenger for some time, wrinkling his brows.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • "I don't seem to get hold of it, yet," said Eunice, wrinkling her forehead.

    Cricket at the Seashore Elizabeth Westyn Timlow
  • "Leave me alone, please," answered Lubov, wrinkling her forehead.

    Foma Gordyeff Maxim Gorky
  • "I have to go to the old man," said Foma, wrinkling his face.

    Foma Gordyeff Maxim Gorky
  • "I wish I could remember which chart I sent you," said Adela, wrinkling her brow.

    Happy Days Alan Alexander Milne
  • His smile came slowly, wrinkling his face into heavy 74 creases.

    Madge Morton's Victory Amy D.V. Chalmers
British Dictionary definitions for wrinkling


a slight ridge in the smoothness of a surface, such as a crease in the skin as a result of age
to make or become wrinkled, as by crumpling, creasing, or puckering
Derived Forms
wrinkleless, adjective
wrinkly, adjective
Word Origin
C15: back formation from wrinkled, from Old English gewrinclod, past participle of wrinclian to wind around; related to Swedish vrinka to sprain, Lithuanian reñgti to twist. See wrench


(informal) a clever or useful trick, hint, or dodge
Word Origin
Old English wrenc trick; related to Middle Low German wrank struggle, Middle High German ranc sudden turn. See wrench
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 wrinkling



c.1400 (implied in wrinkling), probably from stem of Old English gewrinclod "wrinkled, crooked, winding," past participle of gewrinclian "to wind, crease," from perfective prefix ge- + -wrinclian "to wind," from Proto-Germanic *wrankjan (see wrench (v.)). Related: Wrinkled.



"fold or crease in the extenal body," late 14c.; in cloth or clothing from early 15c., probably from wrinkle (v.). Meaning "defect, problem" first recorded 1640s; that of "idea, device, notion" (especially a new one) is from 1817.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wrinkling



  1. An idea, device, trick, notion, style, etc, esp anewone: Wearing that thing sideways is a nice wrinkle (1817+)
  2. A defect or problem, esp a minor one; bug: The plan's still got a few wrinkles, nothing we can't handle (1643+)

[origin of first sense unknown; perhaps fr the same semantic impulse as twist in a similar sense, referring to a quick shift in course; perhaps a reference to a lack of plain simplicity in dress or decoration, and the prevalence of stylish pleats, folds, etc, since the earliest form is without all wrinkles; second sense fr the notion of ironing the wrinkles out of something]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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