To grow smaller. What Alice did, when she wasn't doing the opposite.

Also a slang term for a psychotherapist, probably derived from headshrinker, which we shall for the purposes of clarity rename "pschrinque" in this context.

Grocery stores and other retailers subscribe to a concept called "shrink," the prime enemy of the well-run grocer. Add "service" and "sanitation" and you have the allierative Holy Trinity of food sales.

Shrink, simply, is the loss of profit, generally through employee error. Typical cases of shrink include:

  • An item is left in the bottom of the cart when checking out, and not noticed by the cashier. Not always due to criminal intent; but not always an honest mistake, either.
  • An item goes bad (e.g., meat, dairy). This generally occurs because a customer decided they didn't want said item, and no employee was available to return it to the shelves quickly.
  • An item is damaged (e.g., anything but meat and dairy). The store will, within reason, sell it around half price. Sometimes it's as insignificant as a pack of still-sealed juice boxes with broken plastic wrap; sometimes it's as bad as a box of Corn Flakes that some kid poured mayonnaise into.
  • A customer complaint forces a product to be given out at a reduced price (or gratis). Usually this is because the item went bad.
Initiatives to combat shrink are always in place at grocery stores; stores I've worked at shoot for a level of 0.1% loss of profit due to shrink... typically it's more like 0.2%. The results of these programs are typically a lot of clerks running around like maniacs to return a bread.

Shrink (?), v. i. [imp. Shrank (?) or Shrunk (?) p. p. Shrunk or Shrunken (), but the latter is now seldom used except as a participial adjective; p. pr. & vb. n. Shrinking.] [OE. shrinken, schrinken, AS. scrincan; akin to OD. schrincken, and probably to Sw. skrynka a wrinkle, skrynkla to wrinkle, to rumple, and E. shrimp, n. & v., scrimp. CF. Shrimp.]


To wrinkle, bend, or curl; to shrivel; hence, to contract into a less extent or compass; to gather together; to become compacted.

And on a broken reed he still did stay His feeble steps, which shrunk when hard thereon he lay. Spenser.

I have not found that water, by mixture of ashes, will shrink or draw into less room. Bacon.

Against this fire do I shrink up. Shak.

And shrink like parchment in consuming fire. Dryden.

All the boards did shrink. Coleridge.


To withdraw or retire, as from danger; to decline action from fear; to recoil, as in fear, horror, or distress.

What happier natures shrink at with affright, The hard inhabitant contends is right. Pope.

They assisted us against the Thebans when you shrank from the task. Jowett (Thucyd.)


To express fear, horror, or pain by contracting the body, or part of it; to shudder; to quake.




© Webster 1913.

Shrink, v. t.


To cause to contract or shrink; as, to shrink finnel by imersing it in boiling water.


To draw back; to withdraw.


The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn. Milton.

To shrink on Mach., to fix (one piece or part) firmly around (another) by natural contraction in cooling, as a tire on a wheel, or a hoop upon a cannon, which is made slightly smaller than the part it is to fit, and expanded by heat till it can be slipped into place.


© Webster 1913.

Shrink, n.

The act shrinking; shrinkage; contraction; also, recoil; withdrawal.

Yet almost wish, with sudden shrink, That I had less to praise. Leigh Hunt.


© Webster 1913.

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