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[shriv-uh l] /ˈʃrɪv əl/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), shriveled, shriveling or (especially British) shrivelled, shrivelling.
to contract and wrinkle, as from great heat, cold, or dryness.
to wither; make or become helpless or useless.
Origin of shrivel
1595-1605; akin to Swedish skroflig uneven, rough (perhaps orig. wrinkled, shrunken), dialectal Swedish skryvla to wrinkle, Old English sceorfan to roughen; see scurf
Related forms
unshriveled, adjective
unshrivelled, adjective
1. shrink. See wither. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shrivelled
  • He took off his glove and showed one shrivelled hand.
  • shrivelled testes grew back to normal and the animals regained their fertility.
  • Under normal ambient light, the sacs are shrivelled and the animals are largely transparent.
  • Tin roofs corroded and vegetable gardens shrivelled up.
  • Over the same period, trust in political parties has shrivelled.
  • As consumer spending has slumped, the external imbalances have shrivelled.
  • No wonder the number of bidders has shrivelled to seven.
  • Tax receipts that had been swollen by booms in consumer spending and housing have shrivelled.
  • Now of course those income streams have shrivelled and hey presto, up to our eyeballs in debt.
  • Muscles and organs such as the liver may have shrivelled.
British Dictionary definitions for shrivelled


verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to make or become shrunken and withered
to lose or cause to lose vitality
Word Origin
C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect skryvla wrinkle
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 shrivelled



1560s (implied in shriveled), of unknown origin, not found in Middle English; perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish skryvla "to wrinkle, to shrivel"), perhaps ultimately connected with shrimp (n.) and shrink (v.). Related: Shriveled; shriveling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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