[ with-erz ]
/ ˈwɪð ərz /

noun (used with a plural verb)

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

First recorded in 1535–45; origin uncertain

Definition for withers (2 of 3)


[ with-er ]
/ ˈwɪð ər /

verb (used without object)

to shrivel; fade; decay: The grapes had withered on the vine.
to lose the freshness of youth, as from age (often followed by away).

verb (used with object)

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

1250–1300; Middle English, perhaps variant of weather (v.)


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.

Related forms

Can be confused

weather whether whither wither (see synonym study at the current entry)whither wither

Definition for withers (3 of 3)


[ with-er ]
/ ˈwɪð ər /


George,1588–1667, English poet and pamphleteer.
Also With·ers [with-erz] /ˈwɪð ərz/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for withers

British Dictionary definitions for withers (1 of 2)


/ (ˈwɪðəz) /

pl n

the highest part of the back of a horse, behind the neck between the shoulders

Word Origin for withers

C16: short for widersones, from wider with + -sones, perhaps variant of sinew; related to German Widerrist, Old English withre resistance

British Dictionary definitions for withers (2 of 2)


/ (ˈwɪðə) /


(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

Derived Forms

withered, 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