• synonyms


verb (used with or without object), shriv·eled, shriv·el·ing or (especially British) shriv·elled, shriv·el·ling.
  1. to contract and wrinkle, as from great heat, cold, or dryness.
  2. to wither; make or become helpless or useless.
Show More

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

Synonyms for shrivel

1. shrink. See wither.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shriveling

dwindle, wilt, wither, shrink, welter, sear, burn, mummify, contract, parch, desiccate, stale, wrinkle, scorch, fossilize, mummy, wizen

Examples from the Web for shriveling

Contemporary Examples of shriveling

Historical Examples of shriveling

  • Flames licked at them greedily, touching and shriveling their flesh.

    Tess of the Storm Country

    Grace Miller White

  • The face twisted in a sudden spasm, as if its brain were shriveling with heat.

    Out Like a Light

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • This will prevent the seeds from shriveling before they start to germinate.

    Your Plants

    James Sheehan

  • She had a sensation of shrinking, of shriveling up, inside her.

  • And since I have been living here in peace and plenty I am shriveling like an apple in springtime.

    Such is Life

    Frank Wedekind

British Dictionary definitions for shriveling


verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. to make or become shrunken and withered
  2. to lose or cause to lose vitality
Show More

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 shriveling



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper