[ shringk ]
See synonyms for: shrinkshrankshrinkingshrunken on

verb (used without object),shrank [shrangk] /ʃræŋk/ or, often, shrunk [shruhngk]; /ʃrʌŋk/; shrunk or shrunk·en [shruhng-kuhn]; /ˈʃrʌŋ kən/; shrink·ing.
  1. to draw back, as in retreat or avoidance: to shrink from danger; to shrink from contact.

  2. to contract or lessen in size, as from exposure to conditions of temperature or moisture: This cloth will not shrink if washed in lukewarm water.

  1. to become reduced in extent or scope.

verb (used with object),shrank [shrangk] /ʃræŋk/ or, often, shrunk [shruhngk]; /ʃrʌŋk/; shrunk or shrunk·en [shruhng-kuhn]; /ˈʃrʌŋ kən/; shrink·ing.
  1. to cause to shrink or contract; reduce.

  2. Textiles. to cause (a fabric) to contract during finishing, thus preventing shrinkage, during laundering, of the garments made from it.

  1. an act or instance of shrinking.

  2. a shrinking movement.

  1. shrinkage.

  2. Also shrinker. Also called head shrinker. Slang. a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or psychoanalyst.

Origin of shrink

First recorded before 900, and in 1955–60 for def. 9; Middle English schrinken, Old English scrincan; cognate with Middle Dutch schrinken, Swedish skrynka “to shrink,” Norwegian skrukka “old shrunken woman”

synonym study For shrink

1. See wince1. 3. See decrease.

Other words for shrink

Opposites for shrink

Other words from shrink

  • shrink·a·ble, adjective
  • shrink·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·shrink·a·ble, adjective
  • non·shrink·ing, adjective
  • non·shrink·ing·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·shrink, verb, o·ver·shrank or, often, o·ver·shrunk; o·ver·shrunk or o·ver·shrunk·en; o·ver·shrink·ing.
  • un·shrink·a·ble, adjective
  • un·shrink·ing, adjective
  • un·shrink·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby shrink Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use shrink in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for shrink


/ (ʃrɪŋk) /

verbshrinks, shrinking, shrank, shrunk, shrunk or shrunken
  1. to contract or cause to contract as from wetness, heat, cold, etc

  2. to become or cause to become smaller in size

  1. (intr often foll by from)

    • to recoil or withdraw: to shrink from the sight of blood

    • to feel great reluctance (at): to shrink from killing an animal

  1. the act or an instance of shrinking

  2. slang a psychiatrist

Origin of shrink

Old English scrincan; related to Old Norse skrokkr torso, Old Swedish skrunkin wrinkled, Old Norse hrukka a crease, Icelandic skrukka wrinkled woman

Derived forms of shrink

  • shrinkable, adjective
  • shrinker, noun
  • shrinking, adjective
  • shrinkingly, adverb

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