Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To become limp or flaccid; droop: plants wilting in the heat.
  • intransitive v. To feel or exhibit the effects of fatigue or exhaustion; weaken markedly: "His brain wilted from hitherto unprecedented weariness” ( Vladimir Nabokov).
  • transitive v. To cause to droop or lose freshness.
  • transitive v. To deprive of energy or vigor; fatigue or exhaust.
  • n. The act of wilting or the state of being wilted.
  • n. Any of various plant diseases characterized by slow or rapid collapse of terminal shoots, branches, or entire plants.
  • auxiliary v. Archaic A second person singular present tense of will2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To droop or become limp and flaccid (as a dying leaf or flower).
  • v. To fatigue; to lose strength.
  • v. To cause to droop or become limp and flaccid (as a flower).
  • v. To cause to fatigue; to exhaust.
  • n. The act of wilting or the state of being wilted.
  • n. Any of various plant diseases characterized by wilting.
  • v. Second-person singular present tense of will

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 2d pers. sing. of will.
  • intransitive v. To begin to wither; to lose freshness and become flaccid, as a plant when exposed when exposed to drought, or to great heat in a dry day, or when separated from its root; to droop;. to wither.
  • transitive v. To cause to begin to wither; to make flaccid, as a green plant.
  • transitive v. Hence, to cause to languish; to depress or destroy the vigor and energy of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To droop or fade, as plants or flowers when cut or plucked; wither.
  • To become soft or languid; lose energy, pith, or strength.
  • To cause to droop or become languid, as a plant; take the stiffness, strength, or vigor out. of; hence, to render limp and pithless; depress.
  • The second person singular present indicative of will.
  • n. A disease of plants which causes them to wilt: used only with a qualifying word indicative of the plant affected.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. causing to become limp or drooping
  • v. lose strength
  • v. become limp
  • n. any plant disease characterized by drooping and shriveling; usually caused by parasites attacking the roots

Etymologies

Possibly alteration of dialectal welk, from Middle English welken.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since 1691, probably an alteration of welk, itself from Middle English welken, presumed from Middle Dutch (preserved in modern inchoative verwelken) or Middle Low German welken "to wither," cognate with Old High German irwelhen "to become soft.". (Wiktionary)

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