Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Tending to overwhelm or destroy; devastating.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Blasting; blighting; scorching: as, a withering glance; a withering wind.
  • The act or process denoted by the verb wither; specifically, in the manufacture of black tea, the operation of wilting the fresh leaf by exposing it, thinly spread, for some time to the air. Withering expels half the water from the leaf and fits it to endure rolling (which see) without breaking, also developing oxidation. See black tea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Tending to wither; causing to shrink or fade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Tending to destroy, devastate, overwhelm or cause complete destruction.
  • adjective Diminishing rapidly.
  • adjective Tending to make someone feel small; scornful in a mortifying way.
  • verb Present participle of wither.

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

  • adjective making light of
  • adjective wreaking or capable of wreaking complete destruction
  • noun any weakening or degeneration (especially through lack of use)

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Called Faaafu, or _withering_, from the withering of the yam vine and other plants, which become coloured "like the shells."

    Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before

  • The venerable BBC -- Britain's state-funded television, radio and Internet media giant -- is set to sustain withering cuts of more than 16 percent of its budget, with even steeper reductions in government funding for the arts, including London museums and theaters.

    Britain plans $131 billion in spending cuts by 2015

  • He described the ceremony, which he felt rewarded box-office appeal over artistry, in withering terms:

    Lights, Camera, Action!

  • He described the ceremony, which he felt rewarded box-office appeal over artistry, in withering terms:

    Lights, Camera, Action!

  • (And I state that with the utmost in withering sarcasm, because I've never seen a self-proclaimed "values voter" ever care about the public failure of private virtue in a "family-values" candidate.

    Sound Politics: Timing is everything

  • I am not a timid man, and I am fairly saavy – even got some book learnin – but after a 15 minute withering from the lawyer I was left wondering if this fictional show wasn’t a bit too close to the real thing.

    State of the Union « Scripting News Annex

  • In a ruling that can only be called withering, district Judge Daniel Hovland contrasted "incidental and unintended" deaths during "legal, commercially-useful activity" with "hunting and poaching."

    Dodo of the Year

  • Every time I think of it, I recall a withering Siskel reviewing it on TV in his last couple months of life and it breaks my heart.

    Another 10 Movies to Watch Stoned/High » Scene-Stealers

  • Bobbie afterwards described as withering glances of gloomy despair.

    The Railway Children

  • Bobbie afterwards described as withering glances of gloomy despair.

    The Railway Children

Comments

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  • My wife is a school teacher. Her withering look is a major class control tool.

    April 18, 2007

  • SoG, I know a school counselor who owns a similar expression to use around misbehaving children (usually in restaurants rather than in school, however). ;-)

    April 18, 2007

  • I like the usage, "when she detected my arousal, her stern look caused my withering."

    April 18, 2007