Shriveled/Shriveling vs. Shrivelled/Shrivelling

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

When something is wrinkling or drying, it means it’s shriveling. Or is it shrivelling? How do you spell shrivel’s past and present participle forms?

As a Canadian author writing in American English, I always have to double-check my usage of terms like these.

Keep reading to know the difference between these spellings and examples of how to use them in a sentence.

Shriveled vs. Shrivelled

Shriveled vs Shrivelled Ngram
Trend of words Shriveled and Shrivelled through the years.

Both shriveled and shrivelled are correct spellings with the same definition. The only difference is in the preference of different English variations.

American English recommends using the shorter spelling shriveled, while British English prefers shrivelled.


  • Her face shriveled.

Her face shrivelled.

Shriveling vs. Shrivelling

Shriveling and shrivelling are correct spellings with the same meaning. In the US, the preferred spelling is shriveling. Canadian and British English use the longer word, shrivelling. But if you’re like me, a Canadian author writing for an American audience, then I’d suggest using the American spelling.


  • The doctor is shriveling.

The doctor is shrivelling.

How Do You Spell Shrivel?

Shrivel is the uninflected form of shriveled and shriveling. This verb means to wrinkle and contract due to loss of moisture.


  • The leaves shrivel during autumn.

It can also mean to lose momentum or will and to become irrelevant.


  • Willow shriveled as she grew older. But her heart remained pure, and her faith stayed childlike.

Is Shriveled an Adjective?

Shriveled or shrivelled can be an adjective, meaning dry or wrinkled. It is also a participial adjective because it has the same ending as the past participle verb form of shrivel.


  • The plants have shriveled. (verb)
  • We will replace the shriveled plants. (adjective)

What Does Shrivel Up Mean?

Shrivel up is a verb that means to wither, as with a loss of moisture. Up here is a filler word that doesn’t change the meaning of shrivel when used alone.

How Do You Use Shriveled in a Sentence?

Here are some examples of shrivel in a sentence.

  • Her shriveled face is a reminder that aging is normal and beautiful.
  • They threw away the shriveled grapes.
  • Harry is a lost, shriveled man.
  • The prunes lay shriveled under the sun and ready for packaging.
  • Rough conditions have shriveled crops in the western US corn belt, and hope is fading that output in the east can salvage the national harvest. [Latest LY]

How Do You Use Shrivelled in a Sentence?

Here are some examples of shrivelled in a sentence.

  • The king’s shrivelled little body did not stop him from leading the troop into battle.
  • I need you to sweep the floor to get rid of the shrivelled leaves.
  • Her mom’s patience has shrivelled up. She shouted and demanded an answer immediately.
  • Unfortunately, her interest in him has shrivelled up.
  • Without the pomp and pageantry Britain would still be in mourning, but the language for its doing so would be shrivelled and commonplace [Telegraph]

Shriveled and Shrivelled are the Same

Shriveled and shrivelled have a single meaning, like shriveling and shrivelling. Their base form, shrivel, is a verb that means to wither or to lose momentum.

Use shriveled and shriveling for the American Spelling and shrivelled and shrivelling for the British spelling.