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[dwin-dl] /ˈdwɪn dl/
verb (used without object), dwindled, dwindling.
to become smaller and smaller; shrink; waste away:
His vast fortune has dwindled away.
to fall away, as in quality; degenerate.
verb (used with object), dwindled, dwindling.
to make smaller and smaller; cause to shrink:
Failing health dwindles ambition.
1590-1600; dwine (now dial.) to waste away (Middle English; Old English dwīnan; cognate with Middle Dutch dwīnen to languish, Old Norse dvīna to pine away) + -le
Related forms
undwindling, adjective
1. diminish, decline, lessen, wane. See decrease. 3. lessen.
1. increase. 3. magnify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for dwindled
  • The nation's tire industry, which started here, has dwindled.
  • For example, even as the number of published books has soared, newspaper book-review sections have dwindled.
  • The polyphony of voices has dwindled to a private conversation between one or two people.
  • In dry times the lakes dwindled and the plants declined to niches.
  • The amusing side is that the sooner there are no fewer the more certain is the necessity dwindled.
  • Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates.
  • After that, her screen roles dwindled in importance.
  • They did see a small, but statistically significant effect--which dwindled over time, but was seen across many different subjects.
  • But the newspaper kept up the coverage until public interest dwindled.
  • The study of personality differences between individual animals dwindled.
British Dictionary definitions for dwindled


to grow or cause to grow less in size, intensity, or number; diminish or shrink gradually
Word Origin
C16: from Old English dwīnan to waste away; related to Old Norse dvīna to pine away
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
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Word Origin and History for dwindled



1590s, apparently diminutive and frequentative of Middle English dwinen "waste away, fade, vanish," from Old English dwinan, from Proto-Germanic *dwinanan (cf. Dutch dwijnen "to vanish," Old Norse dvina, Danish tvine, Low German dwinen), from PIE *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)). Related: Dwindled; dwindling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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