Definition of wither in English:


Line breaks: wither
Pronunciation: /ˈwɪðə


  • 1 [no object] (Of a plant) become dry and shrivelled: the grass had withered to an unappealing brown (as adjective withered) withered leaves
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    • A slow descent into a long and murky winter; on my doorstep, the colourful leaves on the trees withered and fell, and there was no spring.
    • The same tree withers, droops and drops the dead leaves in autumn.
    • The plant's foliage withers back during the summer while pretty, orange-red berries appear in the fall.
    wilt, become limp, droop, fade; shrivel (up), dry up; die, perish
    technical become marcescent
  • 1.1(Of a part of the body) become shrunken or wrinkled from age or disease: (as adjective withered) a girl with a withered arm
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    • For the body withering under the polluted skies of the City, with all the energies drained by the daily rigmarole of life, this is manna from heaven!
    • His body was wrinkled and withered, slightly bent over and hunched.
    • He was dressed in only a pair of boxer shorts, his body withered and pale.
    waste (away), become shrunken, shrivel (up), atrophy, decay
  • 2 [no object] Fall into decay or decline: it is not true that old myths either die or wither away
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    • The pressure not to split the team into warring camps during such a season was withering, and it fell on both of them.
    • Phil Fontaine and Jane Stewart's Gathering Strength initiative began to wither.
    • For creativity is a muscle that must be worked or it will gradually atrophy and wither.
    diminish, dwindle, shrink, lessen, fade, ebb (away), wane, weaken, languish; evaporate, melt away, disappear
  • 2.1 [with object] Cause to decline or deteriorate; weaken: a business that can wither the hardiest ego
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    • It is not anti-Semitic, but it is about anti-Semitism and how the prejudice withers its perpetrators as well as their victims.
    • There are so many things that wither and devour the flesh.
    • Kelly was a conservative columnist known for withering criticisms of former president Bill Clinton and his vice president Al Gore, and also worked for the New Republic and Atlantic Monthly magazines.
  • 2.2 (wither away) (Of the state in Marxist theory) cease to exist because no longer necessary after the dictatorship of the proletariat has implemented the necessary changes in society: the state in socialist societies has failed to wither away
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    • Too bad it was the Marxist states that all withered away, so that people might enjoy enough freedom to make a little money and enjoy themselves a bit.
    • The Marxists states have mostly withered away - it's the capitalist states that are thriving.
    • This, combined with the ideal of the class-less society and the expected withering away of the state after the revolution, implies a form of cosmopolitanism of its own.
  • 3 [with object] Humiliate (someone) with a scornful look or manner: she withered him with a glance
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    • With blazing and scornful eyes she fairly withered him by demanding whatever he meant by speaking to respectable people that way.
    • For those who see her withering her opponents with television soundbites, it comes as a surprise to find her sense of humour always bubbling close to the surface.
    • That Simpsons parody comes to mind: the state-of-the-art sonic blast withers the theater crowd, and cracks teeth.


wither on the vine

Fail to be implemented or dealt with because of inaction: that resolution clearly withered on the vine
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  • ‘Talks have gone dead after the company looked at its figures again, and the deal has withered on the vine,’ said Mr Robinson.
  • The other route would see the fruits of eight years of growth wither on the vine through inaction and lack of imagination.
  • With the fruit withering on the vine, word came that a deal was being cut between Habbibi and Dostum.


late Middle English: apparently a variant of weather, ultimately differentiated for certain senses.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody