shrink [shringk] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for shrink on verb (used without object), shrank or, often, shrunk; shrunk or shrunk·en; shrink·ing.

  1. to draw back, as in retreat or avoidance: to shrink from danger; to shrink from contact.
  2. to contract or lessen in size, as from exposure to conditions of temperature or moisture: This cloth will not shrink if washed in lukewarm water.
  3. to become reduced in extent or compass.

verb (used with object), shrank or, often, shrunk; shrunk or shrunk·en; shrink·ing.

  1. to cause to shrink or contract; reduce.
  2. Textiles. to cause (a fabric) to contract during finishing, thus preventing shrinkage, during laundering, of the garments made from it.


  1. an act or instance of shrinking.
  2. a shrinking movement.
  3. shrinkage.
  4. Also shrinker. Also called head shrinker. Slang. a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or psychoanalyst.

Origin of shrink before 900; 1955–60 for def 9; Middle English schrinken, Old English scrincan; cognate with Middle Dutch schrinken, Swedish skrynka to shrink, Norwegian skrukka old shrunken womanRelated formsshrink·a·ble, adjectiveshrink·ing·ly, adverbnon·shrink·a·ble, adjectivenon·shrink·ing, adjectivenon·shrink·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·shrink, verb, o·ver·shrank or, often, o·ver·shrunk; o·ver·shrunk or o·ver·shrunk·en; o·ver·shrink·ing.un·shrink·a·ble, adjectiveun·shrink·ing, adjectiveun·shrink·ing·ly, adverbSynonyms for shrink See more synonyms for on 1. withdraw, recoil, quail. Synonym study 1. See wince1. 3. See decrease.Antonyms for shrink 3. increase. Related Words for shrink wane, dwindle, shorten, reduce, wither, decrease, lessen, diminish, narrow, shrivel, weaken, recede, retreat, wrinkle, compress, condense, deflate, concentrate, contract, fail Examples from the Web for shrink Contemporary Examples of shrink

  • Her magical ability to shrink people just by staring at them is also put to great use here.

    Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ Stomps on the Patriarchy

    Melissa Leon

    January 7, 2015

  • I learned some things I can’t unlearn: human kneecaps look like rocks; bones when burnt, shrink and twist.

    Knowing Where the Bodies Are Buried: An Excerpt From ‘Lives in Ruins’

    Marilyn Johnson

    November 14, 2014

  • Republicans can change their brand, appeal to the electorate, shrink government, grow the economy, and save capitalism.

    To Make Their Victory Durable, the GOP Must Fix the Minimum Wage

    Dmitri Mehlhorn

    November 6, 2014

  • The underlying economic factors that cause deficits to shrink often create circumstances that push them to shrink even faster.

    The Battle of the Deficit Bulge Has Been Won

    Daniel Gross

    October 6, 2014

  • Even as we cheer for her stamina, we shrink from her rapacity.

    Brecht’s Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75

    Katie Baker

    September 10, 2014

  • Historical Examples of shrink

  • And yet, though I shrink from the idea of fighting, I might in some way help those who are.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • Why shrink from us, then, as though we were the spawn of the Evil One?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It then begins to shrink and contract with the greatest uniformity.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 433, April 19, 1884


  • She was not conscious—how could she be and not shrink from my caress?

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • But yet opening it again, seeing me shrink back—Go, if you will!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • British Dictionary definitions for shrink shrink verb shrinks, shrinking, shrank, shrunk, shrunk or shrunken

    1. to contract or cause to contract as from wetness, heat, cold, etc
    2. to become or cause to become smaller in size
    3. (intr often foll by from)
      1. to recoil or withdrawto shrink from the sight of blood
      2. to feel great reluctance (at)to shrink from killing an animal


    1. the act or an instance of shrinking
    2. slang a psychiatrist

    Derived Formsshrinkable, adjectiveshrinker, nounshrinking, adjectiveshrinkingly, adverbWord Origin for shrink Old English scrincan; related to Old Norse skrokkr torso, Old Swedish skrunkin wrinkled, Old Norse hrukka a crease, Icelandic skrukka wrinkled woman Word Origin and History for shrink v.

    Old English scrincan “to draw in the limbs, contract, shrivel up; wither, pine away” (class III strong verb; past tense scranc, past participle scruncen), from Proto-Germanic *skrink- (cf. Middle Dutch schrinken), probably from PIE root *(s)ker- (3) “to turn, bend.”

    Originally with causal shrench (cf. drink/drench). Sense of “become reduced in size” recorded from late 13c. The meaning “draw back, recoil” (early 14c.) perhaps was suggested by the behavior of snails. Transitive sense, “cause to shrink” is from late 14c. Shrink-wrap is attested from 1961 (shrinking-wrap from 1959). Shrinking violet “shy person” attested from 1882.


    “an act of shrinking,” 1580s, from shrink (v.). Slang meaning “psychiatrist,” (1966) is from head-shrinker.

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