- the highest part of the back at the base of the neck of a horse, cow, sheep, etc.
- wring one's withers, to cause one anxiety or trouble: The long involved lawsuit is wringing his withers.
Origin of withers
- to shrivel; fade; decay: The grapes had withered on the vine.
- to lose the freshness of youth, as from age (often followed by away).
- to make flaccid, shrunken, or dry, as from loss of moisture; cause to lose freshness, bloom, vigor, etc.: The drought withered the buds.
- to affect harmfully: Reputations were withered by the scandal.
- to abash, as by a scathing glance: a look that withered him.
Origin of wither
- George,1588–1667, English poet and pamphleteer.
Related Wordsdry, perish, wane, wilt, disintegrate, decay, deflate, fade, atrophy, languish, shrivel, shrink, deteriorate, waste, collapse, die, contract, fold, desiccate, constrict
Examples from the Web for withers
Not to be Confused WithThe Best of Bill Withers: Lean on Me.Five Girl-Power Books Exactly Like Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’
March 29, 2013
The story, often copied from Withers, that Neely was killed by a wolf, is erroneous.
The story of his final rescue by Logan, is related by Withers below.
Don't imagine that my withers are wrung by what you say, for I agree with almost every word of it.The Stark Munro Letters
J. Stark Munro
And Tresler felt himself sliding, saddle and all, over her withers!The Night Riders
"You are very good, madam," said Mr. Wilding, and he bowed to the withers of his roan.Mistress Wilding
- the highest part of the back of a horse, behind the neck between the shoulders
- (intr) (esp of a plant) to droop, wilt, or shrivel up
- (intr often foll by away) to fade or wasteall hope withered away
- (intr) to decay, decline, or disintegrate
- (tr) to cause to wilt, fade, or lose vitality
- (tr) to abash, esp with a scornful look
- (tr) to harm or damage
Word Origin and History for withers
1570s, probably from a dialectal survival of Old English wiðer "against, contrary, opposite" (see with) + plural suffix. Possibly so called because the withers are the parts of the animal that oppose the load. Cf. German Widerrist "withers," from wider "against" + Rist "wrist."
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."