• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. to shrivel; fade; decay: The grapes had withered on the vine.
  2. to lose the freshness of youth, as from age (often followed by away).
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make flaccid, shrunken, or dry, as from loss of moisture; cause to lose freshness, bloom, vigor, etc.: The drought withered the buds.
  2. to affect harmfully: Reputations were withered by the scandal.
  3. to abash, as by a scathing glance: a look that withered him.
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Origin of wither

1250–1300; Middle English, perhaps variant of weather (v.)
Related formswith·ered·ness, nounwith·er·er, nounwith·er·ing·ly, adverbnon·with·er·ing, adjectiveo·ver·with·ered, adjectiveun·with·ered, adjectiveun·with·er·ing, adjective
Can be confusedweather whether whither wither (see synonym study at the current entry)whither wither

Synonyms for wither

1. wrinkle, shrink, dry, decline, languish, droop, waste. Wither, shrivel imply a shrinking, wilting, and wrinkling. Wither (of plants and flowers) is to dry up, shrink, wilt, fade, whether as a natural process or as the result of exposure to excessive heat or drought: Plants withered in the hot sun. Shrivel, used of thin, flat objects and substances, such as leaves, the skin, etc., means to curl, roll up, become wrinkled: The leaves shrivel in cold weather. Paper shrivels in fire. 5. humiliate, shame.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unwithering

Historical Examples of unwithering

  • He represents the unwithering in the very home of corruption.

    My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

    John Henry Jowett

  • The sight of this unwithering green leaf excites me like red at some seasons.

    How to Know the Ferns

    Frances Theodora Parsons

  • Now, I had heard of the Lily, even this thou holdest may its influence be unwithering!

  • He walked in the gardens of the intellectual gods and gathered sweets for the soul from a thousand unwithering flowers.

    Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales

    Robert L. Taylor

British Dictionary definitions for unwithering


  1. (intr) (esp of a plant) to droop, wilt, or shrivel up
  2. (intr often foll by away) to fade or wasteall hope withered away
  3. (intr) to decay, decline, or disintegrate
  4. (tr) to cause to wilt, fade, or lose vitality
  5. (tr) to abash, esp with a scornful look
  6. (tr) to harm or damage
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Derived Formswithered, adjectivewitherer, nounwithering, adjectivewitheringly, adverb

Word Origin for wither

C14: perhaps variant of weather (vb); related to German verwittern to decay
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 unwithering



1530s, alteration of Middle English wydderen "dry up, shrivel" (c.1300), apparently a differentiated and special use of wederen "to expose to weather" (see weather). Cf. German verwittern "to become weather-beaten," from Witter "weather."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper