Power has withered at the center and devolved to an archipelago of fiefdoms where warlords rule without the burdens of governing.
The result has been that the official record has withered, as has history's knowledge of what happened.
Diplomatic dispatches at the time, written by men who had no reason to lie to their own rulers, reported no hump or withered arm.
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."