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1690s, probably an alteration of welk "to wilt," probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German welken "to wither," cognate with Old High German irwelhen "become soft." Related: Wilted; wilting.
common symptom of plant disease resulting from a water loss in leaves and stems. Affected parts lose their turgidity and droop. Specific wilt diseases-caused by a variety of fungi, bacteria, and viruses-are easily confused with root and crown rots, stem cankers, insect injuries, drought or excess water, soil compaction, and other noninfectious problems.