• synonyms


See more synonyms for dwindle on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), dwin·dled, dwin·dling.
  1. to become smaller and smaller; shrink; waste away: His vast fortune has dwindled away.
  2. to fall away, as in quality; degenerate.
Show More
verb (used with object), dwin·dled, dwin·dling.
  1. to make smaller and smaller; cause to shrink: Failing health dwindles ambition.
Show More

Origin of dwindle

1590–1600; dwine (now dial.) to waste away (Middle English; Old English dwīnan; cognate with Middle Dutch dwīnen to languish, Old Norse dvīna to pine away) + -le
Related formsun·dwin·dling, adjective


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

1. See decrease.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for dwindle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Somehow her parts seemed always to dwindle this way in retrospect.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • Was that not less dishonourable than to bid him remain and dwindle as she looked at him?

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • "I hope we don't have to use pressure, sir," Dwindle replied.

    Master of None

    Lloyd Neil Goble

  • "Maybe he just wants clarification on a question," Dwindle said.

    Master of None

    Lloyd Neil Goble

  • Dwindle, sitting on his left, suddenly punched him vigorously in the ribs.

    Master of None

    Lloyd Neil Goble

British Dictionary definitions for dwindle


  1. to grow or cause to grow less in size, intensity, or number; diminish or shrink gradually
Show More

Word Origin

C16: from Old English dwīnan to waste away; related to Old Norse dvīna to pine away
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 dwindle


1590s, apparently diminutive and frequentative of Middle English dwinen "waste away, fade, vanish," from Old English dwinan, from Proto-Germanic *dwinanan (cf. Dutch dwijnen "to vanish," Old Norse dvina, Danish tvine, Low German dwinen), from PIE *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)). Related: Dwindled; dwindling.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper