• Shrink


    • IPA: /ˈʃɹɪŋk/
    • Rhymes: -ɪŋk


    From Middle English shrinken, from Old English scrincan, from Proto-Germanic *skrinkaną. Cognate with Dutch schrinken ("to shrink").

    Full definition of shrink


    1. (transitive) To cause to become smaller.The dryer shrank my sweater.
    2. (intransitive) To become smaller; to contract.This garment will shrink when wet.
      • Francis BaconI have not found that water, by mixture of ashes, will shrink or draw into less room.
      • DrydenAnd shrink like parchment in consuming fire.
    3. (intransitive) To cower or flinch.Molly shrank away from the blows of the whip.
    4. (transitive) To draw back; to withdraw.
      • MiltonThe Libya Hammon shrinks his horn.
    5. (intransitive, figuratively) To withdraw or retire, as from danger.
      • Alexander PopeWhat happier natures shrink at with affright,
        The hard inhabitant contends is right.
      • Jowett (Thucyd.)They assisted us against the Thebans when you shrank from the task.





    (plural shrinks)
    1. shrinkage; contraction; recoilYet almost wish, with sudden shrink,
      That I had less to praise.
      — Leigh Hunt.
    2. (slang, sometimes pejorative) A psychiatrist or therapist; a head-shrinker.You need to see a shrink.My shrink said that he was an enabler, bad for me.

    Usage notes

    The slang sense was originally pejorative, expressing a distrust of practitioners in the field. It is now not as belittling or trivializing.

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