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verb (past shrank /SHraNGk/; past participle shrunk /SHrəNGk/ or (especially as adjective) shrunken /ˈSHrəNGkən/)
1become or make smaller in size or amount; contract or cause to contract: [no object]:the workforce has shrunk to less than a thousand [with object]:the summer sun had shrunk and dried the wood (as adj shrinking)the shrinking market has provoked a massive price war [no object] (of clothes or material) become smaller as a result of being immersed in water.
(as adjective shrunken
) (especially of a person’s face or other part of the body) withered, wrinkled, or shriveled through old age or illness:a tiny shrunken face and enormous eyes
(shrink into oneself
) become withdrawn.
(shrink something on
) slip a metal tire or other fitting onto (something) while it is expanded with heat and allow it to tighten in place:the metal is unsuitable for shrinking onto wooden staves
2 [no object] move back or away, especially because of fear or disgust:she shrank away from him, covering her face he shrank back against the wall [often with negative]
) be averse to or unwilling to do (something difficult or unappealing):I don’t shrink from my responsibilities
a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist:you should see a shrink