Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To become gradually less until little remains. synonym: decrease.
  • intransitive verb To cause to dwindle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Gradual decline or decrease; a wasting away; degeneracy; decline.
  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

  • verb become smaller or lose substance

Etymologies

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- 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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Examples

  • Kim, who claimed Olympic gold with world record scores, saw her hopes of defending her world title dwindle as she blamed foot problems for placing over ten points behind US teenager Mirai Nagasu who leads going into Saturday's free skating final.

    Raw Story

  • Kim, who claimed Olympic gold with world record scores, blamed foot problems as she saw her hopes of defending her world title dwindle as she struggles over ten points behind Nagasu.

    canada.com Top Stories

  • Kim, who claimed Olympic gold with world record scores, saw her hopes of defending her world title dwindle as she blamed foot problems for placing over ten points behind US teenager Mirai Nagasu who leads going into Saturday's free skating final.

    Raw Story

  • As we approach the decade mark next month, the readership around here at GitM continues to dwindle, which is primarily my fault for not updating as much as I'd like.

    Megite Technology News: What's Happening Right Now

  • As we approach the decade mark next month, the readership around here at GitM continues to dwindle, which is primarily my fault for not updating as much as I'd like.

    Megite Technology News: What's Happening Right Now

  • I watched the hippies become commodified and turned into hip capitalists — and the punks, you just watched them kind of dwindle away.

    Boing Boing

  • And we've been having our retirement savings put up and we've been using that, but it's begun to kind of dwindle away.

    Presidents Remarks In Healthcare Conference Call

  • And we've been having our retirement savings put up and we've been using that, but it's begun to kind of dwindle away.

    Presidents Remarks In Healthcare Conference Call With Senior

  • After all, the rampant power supply failures of the 2004 models seemed to kind of dwindle in my opinion, so perhaps they fixed this too ...

    Discussions: Message List - root

  • Peaks, valleys, and landmarks dwindle as we move forward and then reappear in a new perspective as our path winds on.

    American Grace

Comments

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

    December 12, 2006

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

    December 12, 2006

  • The West Wing dialogue is where I learned it.

    December 12, 2006

  • 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

  • Fritter

    August 5, 2009