- Simple past tense and past participle of shrink.
In casual use, found even in careful speech, interchangeable with shrank; in careful formal use, only used for past participle "I have shrunk", while shrank is used for the past tense "I shrank". Compare sank/sunk. Grammatically, shrink is a Germanic strong verb, hence conjugated via ablaut (change of vowel, rather than adding -ed), but these are irregular in modern English, hence the inconsistent usage.
The 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (formally: Honey, I Shrank the Kids or Honey, I've Shrunk the Kids) is an example of the prevalence of the casual form.
- "shrunk/shrank", Paul Brians
- "ON LANGUAGE; How 'Shrunk' Snuck In", by William Safire, July 16, 1995, New York Times
Variant of shrink
intransitive verbshrank or shrunk, shrunk or shrunken, shrinking
- 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 psychiatrist