Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To dry up or shrivel from or as if from loss of moisture.
  • intransitive v. To lose freshness; droop.
  • transitive v. To cause to shrivel or fade.
  • transitive v. To render speechless or incapable of action; stun: The teacher withered the noisy student with a glance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Against, in opposition to.
  • v. To go against, resist; oppose.
  • v. To shrivel, droop or dry up, especially from lack of water
  • v. To become helpless due to emotion
  • v. To cause to shrivel or dry up
  • v. To make helpless due to emotion

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To fade; to lose freshness; to become sapless; to become sapless; to dry or shrivel up.
  • intransitive v. To lose or want animal moisture; to waste; to pin� away, as animal bodies.
  • intransitive v. To lose vigor or power; to languish; to pass away.
  • transitive v. To cause to fade, and become dry.
  • transitive v. To cause to shrink, wrinkle, or decay, for want of animal moisture.
  • transitive v. To cause to languish, perish, or pass away; to blight.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Against; in opposition (to): chiefly in composition, as a prefix wither-, against.
  • To go against; resist: oppose.
  • To cause to become dry and fade; make sapless and shrunken.
  • To cause to shrink, wrinkle, and decay for want of animal moisture; cause to lose bloom; shrivel; cause to have a wrinkled skin or shrunken muscles: as, time will wither the fairest face.
  • To blight, injure, or destroy, as by some malign or baleful influence; affect fatally by malevolence; cause to perish or languish generally: as, to wither a person by a look or glance; reputations withered by scandal.
  • To lose the sap or juice; dry and shrivel up; lose freshness and bloom; fade.
  • To become dry and wrinkled, as from the loss or lack of animal moisture; lose pristine freshness, bloom, softness, smoothness, vigor, or the like, as from age or disease; decay.
  • To decay generally; decline; languish; pass away.
  • See wither, adverb

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

  • v. wither, as with a loss of moisture
  • v. lose freshness, vigor, or vitality

Etymologies

Alteration of Middle English widderen, perhaps variant of wederen, to weather, from weder, weather; see weather.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English wiþer ("again, against", adverb in compounds), from Proto-Germanic *wiþra (“against, toward”), from Proto-Indo-European *wī-tero- (“further apart”), *wī- (“separate, alone”). Cognate with Low German wedder ("against"), Dutch weer ("again, back"), German wider ("against, contrary to"), wieder ("again"), Gothic 𐍅𐌹𐌸𐍂𐌰 (wiþra), Old Norse viðr. More at with. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English witheren, from Old English wiþerian ("to resist, oppose, struggle against"), from Proto-Germanic *wiþrōnan (“to go against, resist”). Cognate with Middle Dutch wideren, Old High German widarōn. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English widren, wydderen ("to dry up, shrivel"), related to or perhaps an alteration of Middle English wederen ("to expose to weather"), from Old English wederian ("to expose to weather, exhibit a change of weather"). Compare German verwittern ("to be ruined by weather"). More at weather. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The pink and white impatiens that always seemed to wither from the DC heat looked alive and stood at attention as if they knew they had a special guest.

    Susanna Quinn: Eight Weeks With Dad

  • "Judge me by your own rule, dear Donald," cried his wife, blandishingly kissing his forehead, "and you will not again wither the mother of your boy with such a look as I just now received."

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • If we fail here, our national prosperity will wither from the root; no statesmanship can save us long; no present strength can give us any guarantee for our future.

    The Teachings of the Crisis

  • Vines will brown and wither, which is simply their way of saying, "We're done."

    Groundwork: The word on cukes

  • There is something terribly traditional and elegant about the place and yet it has a quirky modernity too, a refusal to let its grandeur wither, which is exactly the kind of place Bakewell ought to live.

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  • Did they become more dissatisfied from June to August, and that increased dissatisfaction caused their support to "wither"?

    David Moore: "Obama Fatigue" Is A Pew Construct

  • But I think as Karen, and I think as Eleanor said, we will have to narrow this issue because certainly if we don't, we're going to be criticized, and obviously, it may just kind of wither away.

    Remarks By President In Race Initiative Meeting

  • Pretty sure that 'wither' is the equivalent of shriveling or drying up, i.e. "wither on the vine."

    Global Macro Notes: Whither Commodities - Seeking Alpha

  • The first alternative is that death wins and faith is not worthy of the name; that is, we "wither" in the "desolating blast" of "God," "the Chastener" (ll.

    A Tour of the Sceptic

  • The resulting gridlock will cause our democratic and government institutions to atrophy and wither - which is the point, of course.

    Richard (RJ) Eskow: Our Historic Stand Against the Bank Cabal's Coalition of Darkness

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  • Any friend of Richard and Linda Thompson (or should I say Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson) is a friend of mine. . .and the guy who owns Wordie to boot! Thank you.

    June 18, 2007

  • "This cruel country has driven me down
    Teased me and lied, teased me and lied
    I've only sad stories to tell to this town
    My dreams have withered and died"
    - Richard and Linda Thompson, "Withered and Died"

    February 20, 2007