How to make a wither

  • 1no object (of a plant) become dry and shrivelled.

    ‘the grass had withered to an unappealing brown’

    • ‘And the evidence abounds: thick truncated trunks still pushing out new sprigs, charred stumps, and entire trees withering on the roadside.’
    • ‘An instant of heat and he was suddenly standing at the edge of a great expanse of grassland, the grass withered and blackened in places but generally a dry yellow.’
    • ‘He sees the crops withered through drought and devoured by pests on a shrivelled land struggling to escape the paralysis of famine.’
    • ‘After all flowers have withered, cut off the entire stem.’
    • ‘As autumn shows its tail, osmanthus flowers wither but the scent lingers, though not as fragrant as before.’
    • ‘A slow descent into a long and murky winter; on my doorstep, the colourful leaves on the trees withered and fell, and there was no spring.’
    • ‘Crops were withering, cattle were dying, and the river that once sculpted canyons was a trickle.’
    • ‘Weeds wither within a few minutes (though perennial weeds will require repeat applications).’
    • ‘The plant's foliage withers back during the summer while pretty, orange-red berries appear in the fall.’
    • ‘Finally, an attempt is made to tie the episode of the fig tree withering to Homer.’
    • ‘He's so ugly his smile makes leaves fall off trees, grass wither and die, and animals flee in terror.’
    • ‘This delicate flower will wither and blow away like dust in the wind if it's not watered with affection and the light of love doesn't shine.’
    • ‘Whenever he touched the ground the grass withered and died underneath his foot.’
    • ‘The same tree withers, droops and drops the dead leaves in autumn.’
    • ‘The world suddenly became cold as the grass withered down to nothing.’
    • ‘Development of the tagged inflorescences was examined daily until the flowers had withered.’
    • ‘Many Tibetans believe that in ancient times Jiuzhaigou suffered such disasters that its mountains collapsed, trees and flowers withered and inhabitants fled.’
    • ‘Adolphus aimed the mouth of his flame-thrower at the flowered archway and let the flowers wither under the imagined flames of his mind, and he delighted in this.’
    • ‘The delicate anicham flower withers when merely smelled, but an unwelcome look is enough to wither a guest's heart.’
    • ‘Staring in disbelief Kana realized that the flower had withered slowly beneath her touch.’

    wilt, become limp, droop, fade

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  • 2no object Fall into decay or decline.

    ‘it is not true that old myths either die or wither away’

    • ‘The snaps between characters fall flat, and all other attempts at comedy simply wither and die.’
    • ‘We in New Zealand, you know, used to be able to relax a bit, to be able to think that we would sit comfortably while the rest of the world seared, singed, withered.’
    • ‘For creativity is a muscle that must be worked or it will gradually atrophy and wither.’
    • ‘Players become shallow and lazy as important parts of their game wither and atrophy from disuse.’
    • ‘The pressure not to split the team into warring camps during such a season was withering, and it fell on both of them.’
    • ‘Phil Fontaine and Jane Stewart's Gathering Strength initiative began to wither.’
    • ‘The line of soldiers of Kalon began to wither and grow thin, only a few warriors remained and gaps in their lines were beginning to form as they were running out of men.’
    • ‘Everything that had made me a beautiful, cheerful girl had withered and died on the twenty-third of June.’
    • ‘If you trust me I will instil in you the correct moral values so needed in this age of sexual libertarianism and moral decay, and also aid your withered self esteem.’
    • ‘The blast withered to nothing as the attack stopped; Joshua fell from his position, hitting the ground with a dull thud.’

    diminish, dwindle, shrink, lessen, fade, ebb, ebb away, wane, weaken, languish

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  • 3with object Humiliate (someone) with a scornful look or manner.

    ‘she withered him with a glance’

    • ‘Caroline merely tucked a curl behind her ear and withered him with a stare she had studied from Margaret Thatcher until he wilted completely.’
    • ‘With blazing and scornful eyes she fairly withered him by demanding whatever he meant by speaking to respectable people that way.’
    • ‘For those who see her withering her opponents with television soundbites, it comes as a surprise to find her sense of humour always bubbling close to the surface.’
    • ‘That Simpsons parody comes to mind: the state-of-the-art sonic blast withers the theater crowd, and cracks teeth.’
    • ‘They are quite likely to see right through you and your feckless ways, like Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous withering Edina and Patsy with her magnificently polished disdain.’
    • ‘For half a century Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau withered any rival in vocal range with an austere glare and an iron grip on recording opportunities.’
    • ‘Carrie withered her, and for a second Stevie was taken aback.’
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