Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Frequentative form of dwine, from Old English dwīnan ‎(to waste away), equivalent to dwine +‎ -le, akin to Old Norse dvena[1]/dvína [2][3](Danish tvine ‎(to pine away)[4]).



dwindle ‎(third-person singular simple present dwindles, present participle dwindling, simple past and past participle dwindled)

  1. (intransitive) To decrease, shrink, diminish, reduce in size or intensity.
    • 1802, Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace, translated by T. Paynell,
      [E]very thing that was improving gradually degenerates and dwindles away to nothing, []
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To fall away in quality; degenerate, sink.
    The flattery of his friends began to dwindle into simple approbation. (Goldsmith, Vicar, III)
  3. To lessen; to bring low.
    • Thomson
      Our drooping days are dwindled down to naught.
  4. To break up or disperse.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Clarendon to this entry?)



  1. ^ Dictionary entry of the alternative spelling
  2. ^ dwindle in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913: "akin to ... Icel. dvína to cease"
  3. ^ dwindle in Merriam Webster's dictionary : "akin to Old Norse dvīna to pine away"
  4. ^ The Danish descendant of the ON word in ODS