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verb (used without object)
  1. to become limp and drooping, as a fading flower; wither.
  2. to lose strength, vigor, assurance, etc.: to wilt after a day's hard work.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to wilt.
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noun Also wilt disease (for defs 5b, 6).
  1. the act of wilting, or the state of being wilted: a sudden wilt of interest in the discussion.
  2. Plant Pathology.
    1. the drying out, drooping, and withering of the leaves of a plant due to inadequate water supply, excessive transpiration, or vascular disease.
    2. a disease so characterized, as fusarium wilt.
  3. a virus disease of various caterpillars, characterized by the liquefaction of body tissues.
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Origin of wilt

1685–95; dialectal variant of wilk to wither, itself variant of welk, Middle English welken, probably < Middle Dutch welken; compare German welk withered

Synonyms for wilt

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verb Archaic.
  1. second person singular present ind. of will1.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for wilted

droop, ebb, wane, dwindle, faint, melt, wither, fade, diminish, shrivel, succumb, collapse, drop, mummify, flag, weaken, sink, waste, languish, wizen

Examples from the Web for wilted

Contemporary Examples of wilted

Historical Examples of wilted

  • Then he ventured into the heat and glare of Broadway where humanity stewed and wilted.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He is much like a wilted leaf in the hands of this boy and girl.

  • Julia wilted a little; but her sister, Mrs. Glynn, was not perturbed.

    The Yates Pride

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

  • I'm almost glad they have wilted; they will give you something to do.


    Dorothy Whitehill

  • "Yes, ma'am," says Babbitt, tryin' to prop up his wilted collar.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

British Dictionary definitions for wilted


  1. to become or cause to become limp, flaccid, or droopinginsufficient water makes plants wilt
  2. to lose or cause to lose courage, strength, etc
  3. (tr) to cook (a leafy vegetable) very briefly until it begins to collapse
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  1. the act of wilting or state of becoming wilted
  2. any of various plant diseases characterized by permanent wilting, usually caused by fungal parasites attacking the roots
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Word Origin for wilt

C17: perhaps variant of wilk to wither, from Middle Dutch welken


  1. archaic, or dialect (used with the pronoun thou or its relative equivalent) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of will 1
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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 wilted



1690s, probably an alteration of welk "to wilt," probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German welken "to wither," cognate with Old High German irwelhen "become soft." Related: Wilted; wilting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper