[ shriv-uhl ]
/ ˈʃrɪv əl /

verb (used with or without object), shriv·eled, shriv·el·ing or (especially British) shriv·elled, shriv·el·ling.

to contract and wrinkle, as from great heat, cold, or dryness.
to wither; make or become helpless or useless.

Nearby words

  1. shrinkage,
  2. shrinker,
  3. shrinking violet,
  4. shrinking violet, a,
  5. shrive,
  6. shriven,
  7. shriver,
  8. shriver, robert sargent,
  9. shroff,
  10. shroom

Origin of shrivel

1595–1605; akin to Swedish skroflig uneven, rough (perhaps orig. wrinkled, shrunken), dialectal Swedish skryvla to wrinkle, Old English sceorfan to roughen; see scurf

Related formsun·shriv·eled, adjectiveun·shriv·elled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shrivel

British Dictionary definitions for shrivel


/ (ˈʃrɪvəl) /

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled

to make or become shrunken and withered
to lose or cause to lose vitality

Word Origin for shrivel

C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect skryvla wrinkle

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 shrivel



1560s (implied in shriveled), of unknown origin, not found in Middle English; perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish skryvla "to wrinkle, to shrivel"), perhaps ultimately connected with shrimp (n.) and shrink (v.). Related: Shriveled; shriveling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper