June 01, 2012
dwindle (verb)
\DWIN-dul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to make or become less
How do you use it?
After the defeat by the visiting team, we saw our lead in the standings dwindle to one game.
Are you a word wiz?

Which one of these words do you think is a synonym of "dwindle"?

Let's hear it for A. "Dwindle" implies a gradual lessening of something and applies to things growing visibly smaller. ("The size of the speaker's audience gradually dwindled.") "Diminish" emphasizes a noticeable loss and implies a subtraction from a total. ("Our dog's sense of smell diminished with age.") Another synonym, "decrease," suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity. ("The researcher slowly decreased the amount of weight.") "Lessen," meanwhile, implies a decline in amount rather than number. ("The young couple tried to lessen their debt.") Lastly, "abate" indicates a reducing of something oppressive or excessive in force or amount. ("After several scorching days, the heat abated.")
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