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

  • intransitive v. To become gradually less until little remains.
  • transitive v. To cause to dwindle. See Synonyms at decrease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To decrease, shrink, diminish, reduce in size.
  • v. To fall away in quality; degenerate, sink.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The process of dwindling; dwindlement; decline; degeneracy.
  • intransitive v. To diminish; to become less; to shrink; to waste or consume away; to become degenerate; to fall away.
  • transitive v. To make less; to bring low.
  • transitive v. To break; to disperse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To diminish; become less; shrink; waste or consume away: with by or from before the cause, and to, in, or into before the effect or result: as, the body dwindles by pining or consumption; an estate dwindles from waste; an object dwindles in size as it recedes from view; from its constant exposure, the regiment dwindled to a skeleton.
  • To degenerate; sink; fall away in quality.
  • Synonyms Diminish, etc. (see decrease); attenuate, become attenuated, decline, fall off, fall away.
  • n. Gradual decline or decrease; a wasting away; degeneracy; decline.

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

  • v. become smaller or lose substance


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

Frequentative of Middle English dwinen, to waste away, from Old English dwīnan, to shrink; see dheu-2 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Diminutive form of dwine, from Old English dwinan ("to waste away"), akin to Old Norse dvena/dvína (Danish tvine ("to pine away")).


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  • Fritter

    August 5, 2009

  • Only three? In what dwarfish world do the West Wing writers dwell? Have they been drinking too much dwale? And what kind of dwelling is the White House, anyway? Is the current dweller a mental dwarf (as some allege) or merely a dweeb? Etc.

    December 16, 2006

  • The West Wing dialogue is where I learned it.

    December 12, 2006

  • This fact was used for a bit of dialogue in The West Wing.

    December 12, 2006

  • There are only three words in the English language (I believe) that start with dw. Dwindle is but one.

    December 12, 2006