- An example of to shrink is steaming a pot full of fresh spinach which, after steaming, will become a significantly reduced amount.
- An example of to shrink is someone losing a lot of weight.
intransitive verbshrank or shrunk, shrunk or shrunk′en, shrink′ing
- to become or seem to become smaller, more compact, etc.; contract, as from heat, cold, moisture, etc.
- to lessen, as in amount, worth, etc.
- to draw back; turn away; cower, as from fear
- to hold back, as from taking action; hesitate or recoil: to shrink from doing one's duty
Origin of shrinkMiddle English schrynken from Old English scrincan, akin to Swedish skrynka, to wrinkle from Indo-European an unverified form (s)kreng- from base an unverified form (s)ker-, to bend, turn from source shrimp, Classical Greek kirkos, a ring, Classical Latin curvus, curved
- a shrinking; shrinkage
Origin of shrink< (head)shrink(er)Slang a clinical psychiatrist or psychologist
verbshrank, or shrunk shrunk, or shrunk·en shrink·ing, shrinks
- a. To become or appear to become smaller: The shadows shrank as the sun rose higher. The mountains shrank in the distance as we drove away.b. To become smaller from exposure to heat, moisture, or cold: The sweater shrank in the wash.
- To become reduced in amount or value; dwindle: His savings quickly shrank. The market for that product has been shrinking.
- To move back or away, especially in fear: “She shrank back against the wall and flattened her palms against it” ( Pearl S. Buck )
- To show reluctance; hesitate: We should not shrink from making such a sacrifice.
- a. The act of shrinking.b. The degree to which something shrinks; shrinkage.
- Slang A psychotherapist.
Origin of shrinkMiddle English shrinken to wither, shrivel up from Old English scrincan ; see sker-2 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present shrinks, present participle shrinking, simple past shrank or shrunk, past participle shrunk or shrunken)
- To cause to become smaller.
- The dryer shrank my sweater.
- (intransitive) To become smaller; to contract.
- This garment will shrink when wet.
- (intransitive) To cower or flinch.
- Molly shrank away from the blows of the whip.
- To draw back; to withdraw.
- (intransitive, figuratively) To withdraw or retire, as from danger.
- The slang sense was originally pejorative, expressing a distrust of practitioners in the field. It is now not as belittling or trivializing.
Cognate with Dutch schrinken (“to shrink").