American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The high part of the back of a horse or similar animal, located between the shoulder blades.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The highest part of the back of a horse, between the shoulderblades and behind the root of the neck, where the mane ceases to grow: as, a horse 15 hands high at the withers. The name is extended to the same part of some other animals: as, an antelope with high withers; the sacred ox, with a hump on the withers. See cut under
- n. The barbs or flukes of a harpoon; the witters: so called by British whalemen.
- n. veterinary medicine The part of the back of a draft animal or horse that is the highest, between the shoulder blades.
- v. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of wither.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse, at the base of the neck. See
- n. the highest part of the back at the base of the neck of various animals especially draft animals
- 1580, from Old English dialectical wiðer ("against") + -s; see with. So-named because the part of the horse that pushes against a load. Compare German Widerrist ("withers"), from wider ("against") + Rist ("wrist"). (Wiktionary)
- Possibly from obsolete wither-, against (from the strain exerted on them when a horse draws a load), from Middle English, from Old English. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“When Carmel itself "withers," how utter the desolation!”
“(God) blows upon them. "blow -- The image is from the hot east wind (simoon) that" withers "vegetation. whirlwind ... stubble -- (Ps 83: 13), where," like a wheel, "refers to the rotatory action of the whirlwind on the stubble.”
“To avoid defamation in the eyes of neighbors, work colleagues, relatives and the society at large, stamped harassers may well choose to stay at home until the effect of the ink withers away.”
“The scope and cost of government grows, and liberty withers, when the family breaks down.”
“This is the most fascinating aspect of his recall, because it will tell us whether managerial skill withers like an unused muscle.”
“On Tuesday night the show-ring judge Paolo Dondina agreed, making Hickory the first of her kind - and perhaps the tallest canine ever nearly 30 inches at the withers - to win Westminster in 135 years of competition.”
“Many of the so-called ESI plans cannot really be called insurance, since they now pass along so much of the costs of care to enrollees even as the extent of coverage withers away.”
“And it would be a vote for the fattest, laziest, richest, and least productive Wall Street businesses who profit most when American crumbles and its middle class withers.”
“It is her friend Charlotte who withers into plague-dom.”
“Given that he also said, "If a lion could talk, then we could not understand him", perhaps we are saddled with a human-equine inter-flank so unstable that we can't trot out bits of mane principles on the hoof, and should bridle our words until error withers and truth reins?”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘withers’.
words looked up recently from reading Guy Davenport
Nouns that are common in plural form but are non-existent or rarely used in singular form.
Words from the works of Peter Reading - at least one from each (except the Schwitters-esque erosions, cut-ups etc).
Words and phrases from Lynn Flewelling's book, Luck in the Shadows.
Just what it sounds like.
Looking for tweets for withers.