verb \ˈshriŋk, especially Southern ˈsriŋk\

: to become smaller in amount, size, or value

: to make (something) smaller in amount, size, or value

: to quickly move away from something shocking, frightening, or disgusting

shrank \ˈshraŋk, ˈsraŋk\ or shrunk \ˈshrəŋk, ˈsrəŋk\ shrunk or shrunk·en \ˈshrəŋ-kən, ˈsrəŋ-\ shrink·ing

Full Definition of SHRINK

intransitive verb
:  to contract or curl up the body or part of it :  huddle, cower
a :  to contract to less extent or compass
b :  to become smaller or more compacted
c :  to lose substance or weight
d :  to lessen in value :  dwindle
a :  to recoil instinctively (as from something painful or horrible) <shrank from the challenge>
b :  to hold oneself back :  refrain <did not shrink from telling the truth>
transitive verb
:  to cause to contract or shrink; specifically :  to compact (cloth) by causing to contract when subjected to washing, boiling, steaming, or other processes
shrink·able \ˈshriŋ-kə-bəl, ˈsriŋ-\ adjective
shrink·er noun

Origin of SHRINK

Middle English, from Old English scrincan; akin to Middle Dutch schrinken to draw back
First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of SHRINK

contract, shrink, condense, compress, constrict, deflate mean to decrease in bulk or volume. contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length <caused her muscles to contract>. shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions <the sweater will shrink when washed>. condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content <condense the essay into a paragraph>. compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance <compressed cotton into bales>. constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter <the throat is constricted by a tight collar>. deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas <deflate the balloon>.

recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail mean to draw back in fear or distaste. recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust <recoiled at the suggestion of stealing>. shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice <shrank from the unpleasant truth>. flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution <faced her accusers without flinching>. wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (as a start or recoiling) <winced in pain>. blench implies fainthearted flinching <stood their ground without blenching>. quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear <quailed before the apparition>.



: a psychiatrist or psychologist

Full Definition of SHRINK

:  the act of shrinking
:  shrinkage
[short for headshrinker] :  a clinical psychiatrist or psychologist

First Known Use of SHRINK

SHRINK Defined for Kids


verb \ˈshriŋk\
shrank \ˈshraŋk\ or shrunk \ˈshrəŋk\shrunk or shrunk·en \ˈshrəŋ-kən\shrink·ing

Definition of SHRINK for Kids

:  to make or become smaller <The sweater shrank when it got wet.>
:  to curl up or move back in or as if in fear or pain <Just the thought of all this made Tom shrink back uncomfortably in his chair. — Andrew Clements, Frindle>
:  to refrain from doing something especially because of difficulty or unpleasantness <He did not shrink from telling the truth.>
Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈshriŋk\

Medical Definition of SHRINK

:  a clinical psychiatrist or psychologist—called also headshrinker


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