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wither

[with -er] /ˈwɪð ər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to shrivel; fade; decay:
The grapes had withered on the vine.
2.
to lose the freshness of youth, as from age (often followed by away).
verb (used with object)
3.
to make flaccid, shrunken, or dry, as from loss of moisture; cause to lose freshness, bloom, vigor, etc.:
The drought withered the buds.
4.
to affect harmfully:
Reputations were withered by the scandal.
5.
to abash, as by a scathing glance:
a look that withered him.
Origin
1250-1300
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.
Synonyms
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for withering
  • Despite such apocalyptic images, not all of the country is going up in smoke or withering from the heat.
  • The area had lost its major elements and was withering and dying.
  • They meant before he had begun avidly smoking crack, which is a withering drug.
  • If only they observed a bit longer, it soon turned into a normal grey cloud withering their imagination.
  • None of you ever post anything so you'll never see this withering reply.
  • Oil isn't withering away and demand won't wither away anytime soon.
  • Almost lost in the withering scale of this calamity is the initial lives lost in the explosion.
  • Some of this, of course, can be explained by the withering scorn with which many critics and artists still regard academic art.
  • As an exercise that is both literary and dramatic, this brief, withering play is a superb achievement.
  • These days, acre after acre is yellowed and inedible from a withering lack of rain.
British Dictionary definitions for withering

wither

/ˈwɪðə/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (esp of a plant) to droop, wilt, or shrivel up
2.
(intransitive) often foll by away. to fade or waste: all hope withered away
3.
(intransitive) to decay, decline, or disintegrate
4.
(transitive) to cause to wilt, fade, or lose vitality
5.
(transitive) to abash, esp with a scornful look
6.
(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 withering

wither

v.

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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