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

  • intransitive v. To become constricted from heat, moisture, or cold.
  • intransitive v. To become reduced in amount or value; dwindle: His savings quickly shrank.
  • intransitive v. To draw back instinctively, as from something alarming; recoil.
  • intransitive v. To show reluctance; hesitate: shrink from making such a sacrifice.
  • transitive v. To cause to shrink.
  • n. The act of shrinking.
  • n. The degree to which something shrinks; shrinkage.
  • n. Slang A psychotherapist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To contract, to (cause to) become smaller.
  • v. To cower or flinch.
  • v. To attempt to avoid an unwanted or intimidating duty; as, to shrink from a task.
  • n. shrinkage; contraction; recoil
  • n. A psychiatrist or therapist; a head-shrinker.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act shrinking; shrinkage; contraction; also, recoil; withdrawal.
  • n. a psychiatrist.
  • intransitive v. To wrinkle, bend, or curl; to shrivel; hence, to contract into a less extent or compass; to gather together; to become compacted.
  • intransitive v. To withdraw or retire, as from danger; to decline action from fear; to recoil, as in fear, horror, or distress.
  • intransitive v. To express fear, horror, or pain by contracting the body, or part of it; to shudder; to quake.
  • transitive v. To cause to contract or shrink.
  • transitive v. To draw back; to withdraw.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To contract spontaneously; draw or be drawn into less length, breadth, or compass by an inherent property: as, woolen cloth shrinks in hot water; a flaxen or hempen line shrinks in a humid atmosphere.
  • To diminish; reduce.
  • To shrivel: become wrinkled by contraction, as the skin.
  • To draw back or retire, as from danger; recoil physically, as in fear, horror, or distrust; sometimes, simply, to go aside.
  • To decline or hesitate to act, as from fear; recoil morally or mentally, as in fear, horror, distrust, distaste, and the like.
  • To express fear, horror, or pain by shrugging or contracting the body; wince; flinch.
  • Synonyms See shrivel.
  • 4–6. To flinch, blench.
  • To cause to contract: as, to shrink flannel by immersing it in boiling water.
  • To make smaller; make appear smaller.
  • To withdraw: formerly with in.
  • The act of shrinking; a spontaneous drawing into less compass.
  • A contraction.
  • A shrug.
  • A diminution; a falling away; shrinkage.
  • A withdrawing from fear or horror; recoil.

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

  • v. draw back, as with fear or pain
  • v. become smaller or draw together
  • v. reduce in size; reduce physically
  • v. decrease in size, range, or extent
  • n. a physician who specializes in psychiatry
  • v. wither, as with a loss of moisture


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

Middle English shrinken, to wither, shrivel up, from Old English scrincan; see sker-2 in Indo-European roots.



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  • How did "shrink" come to mean a psychiatrist?

    March 28, 2009

  • *switches to tea*

    October 24, 2008

  • You wouldn't have to because he doesn't have any. Or so he claims.

    October 24, 2008

  • Oh. Man, I wouldn't dare touch palooka's boobs.

    October 24, 2008

  • I was attempting to draw out palooka, bilby. ;->

    You're right--there must be several cup jokes here. If only we could find them.

    October 24, 2008

  • If you're coffee is 'grand enough to trot a mouse across'- you only need one cup a day!

    There's a cup joke in there somewhere...

    October 24, 2008

  • Uhhh, are we in manboob territory here?

    October 24, 2008

  • But what about men's breasts?

    October 24, 2008

  • "Scientists have discovered that drinking just three cups of coffee a day can make women's breasts shrink. Nearly 300 women were surveyed about their bust measurements and how many cups of coffee they drank in an average day. According to researchers, three cups a day was enough to start making breasts shrink, with the effects increasing for every cup drunk."

    - 'Drinking three cups of coffee a day 'shrinks women's breasts'',, 22 Oct 2008.

    October 24, 2008