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[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.)
Related forms
witheredness, noun
witherer, noun
witheringly, adverb
nonwithering, adjective
overwithered, adjective
unwithered, adjective
unwithering, adjective
Can be confused
weather, whether, whither, wither (see synonym study at the current entry)
whither, wither.
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unwithered
Historical Examples
  • Every thing around them smiled, and their yet unwithered hopes were alive to every delightful impression.

  • To be most satisfactory, endive should be bought when it is fresh and unwithered and kept until used in a cool, damp place.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2 Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
  • She should find them all dewy and unwithered in her bridal crown.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • His child could there grow up, unwithered by the associations of her mother's disgrace.

  • The largest of the trees, though scorched about the base, still stood with unwithered foliage, little harmed by the fire.

    Into the Primitive Robert Ames Bennet
  • There the air was fragrant with the scent of a sprig of honeysuckle that lay yet unwithered in the window.

    Sir Ludar Talbot Baines Reed
  • The luxury of such a reproof was too dear to Mrs. Neff's unwithered heart to be neglected.

    What Will People Say? Rupert Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for unwithered


(intransitive) (esp of a plant) to droop, wilt, or shrivel up
(intransitive) often foll by away. to fade or waste: all hope withered away
(intransitive) to decay, decline, or disintegrate
(transitive) to cause to wilt, fade, or lose vitality
(transitive) to abash, esp with a scornful look
(transitive) to harm or damage
Derived Forms
withered, adjective
witherer, noun
withering, adjective
witheringly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for unwithered



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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