On the Origin of Dwindle


Dwindle is a great word and appropriate for the final post of the year, but it isn’t a word you would hear everyday. So for those of you who may not know it already, it means to become less, to decrease, to diminish. It speaks to a supply of something that is coming to its end.

See why it’s a good word for the end of the year? But where does it come from?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, dwindle is a “diminutive form of Middle English dwinen “waste away, fade, vanish,” from Old English dwinan, derived from dheu, which means “to die”. A bit morbid, eh?

But I like the fact that it is a diminutive form for death, because death in its full power is a frightening thing. Words like dwindle help us deal with death in bite-sized pieces. It is the dimming of the lights rather than being cast into sudden darkness.

Let’s use today to put this past year to bed. Share with someone the best and worst parts of the past year and then put those things away. After all, a new year is coming.

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