verb (used without object), dwin·dled, dwin·dling.

to become smaller and smaller; shrink; waste away: His vast fortune has dwindled away.
to fall away, as in quality; degenerate.

verb (used with object), dwin·dled, dwin·dling.

to make smaller and smaller; cause to shrink: Failing health dwindles ambition.

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

Synonyms for dwindle

Synonym study

1. See decrease.

Antonyms for dwindle

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dwindle

Contemporary Examples of dwindle

Historical Examples of dwindle

  • 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

  • "Please, Dwindle," Jones moaned, pressing his palms to his eyes.

    Master of None

    Lloyd Neil Goble

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

    Master of None

    Lloyd Neil Goble

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

    Master of None

    Lloyd Neil Goble

British Dictionary definitions for dwindle



to grow or cause to grow less in size, intensity, or number; diminish or shrink gradually

Word Origin for dwindle

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper