shrink

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English shrinken, from Old English scrincan, from Proto-Germanic *skrinkaną. Cognate with Dutch schrinken (to shrink).

Verb[edit]

shrink (third-person singular simple present shrinks, present participle shrinking, simple past shrank or shrunk, past participle shrunk or shrunken)

  1. (transitive) To cause to become smaller.
    The dryer shrank my sweater.
  2. (intransitive) To become smaller; to contract.
    This garment will shrink when wet.
    • Francis Bacon
      I have not found that water, by mixture of ashes, will shrink or draw into less room.
    • Dryden
      And shrink like parchment in consuming fire.
  3. (intransitive) To cower or flinch.
    Molly shrank away from the blows of the whip.
  4. (transitive) To draw back; to withdraw.
    • Milton
      The Libya Hammon shrinks his horn.
  5. (intransitive, figuratively) To withdraw or retire, as from danger.
    • Alexander Pope
      What happier natures shrink at with affright, / The hard inhabitant contends is right.
    • Jowett (Thucyd.)
      They assisted us against the Thebans when you shrank from the task.

Synonyms[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

shrink (plural shrinks)

  1. shrinkage; contraction; recoil
    Yet almost wish, with sudden shrink, / That I had less to praise. — Leigh Hunt.
  2. (slang, sometimes pejorative) A psychiatrist or therapist; a head-shrinker.
    You need to see a shrink.
    My shrink said that he was an enabler, bad for me.
    • 1994, Green Day, Basket Case
      I went to a shrink, to analyze my dreams. He said it's lack of sex that's bringing my down.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The slang sense was originally pejorative, expressing a distrust of practitioners in the field. It is now not as belittling or trivializing.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.