What Is The Past Tense For Shrink? Shrank Or Shrunk?

By Benjamin Essek

What Is The Past Tense For Shrink?

The past tense for “shrink” can be either “shrank” or “shrunk.” Both forms are considered correct and acceptable. However, “shrank” is usually the more common usage for the V2 of the irregular verb shrink.

The past participle form of shrink is also shrunk. You can check out the table below to get more verb forms of shrink:

Base Form/Infinitive Form (V1) shrink
Present Form/3rd Person/Singular Form shrinks
Past Simple Tense (V2) shrank/shrunk
Past Participle Form (V3) shrunk
Present Participle/Gerund shrinking

How To Pronounce Shrink, Shrank, And Shrunk Correctly? 

The word “shrink” is pronounced as /ʃrɪŋk/. Shrank is pronounced as /ʃræŋk/, and shrunk is pronounced as /ʃrʌŋk/ in both British and American accents.

These pronunciations differ only in the three consonants /ɪ/, /æ/, and /ʌ/, so it’s easy to remember.

Check out the following table for more details:

Verb Forms Pronunciation 
British English language American English language
shrink /ʃrɪŋk/ /ʃrɪŋk/








/ʃrʌŋk/ /ʃrʌŋk/
shrinking /ˈʃrɪŋkɪŋ/ /ˈʃrɪŋkɪŋ/

How to say shrink, shrank, and shrunk correctly? Check out these videos: 




What Are The Definitions Of Shrink? How To Use Shrank?

You can use the past tense of shrink when referring to an action that happened and was completed in the past. The verb shrink has 3 main meanings:

  • To become smaller in size or amount.

Example 1: The population of this city shrank/shrunk dramatically after the pandemic.

Example 2: The company’s profits shrank/shrunk by 20% last year due to the economic downturn.

  • To make clothes, cloth, etc., smaller by washing them in hot water.

Example 1: The sweater shrank/shrunk in the wash, so now it’s too small for me to wear.

Example 2: The beef steak shrank/shrunk quickly when I put it in the scorching pan. (See the past tense of put here)

  • To move back or away from something because of fear or shock

Example 1: When the dog barked loudly, the children shrank/shrunk back in fear.

Example 2: When the snake slithered towards her, she shrank/ shrunk away in terror.


Created on By Benjamin Essek

Past Tense For Shrink

Choose the correct answer to fill in the blank:

1 / 7

By the time I found the sweater, it had already ____ in the dryer.

2 / 7

The company's profits ______ every year due to increasing competition.

3 / 7

She ______ her sweater intentionally this morning by washing it in hot water to fit her younger sister. (Click here to see the past tense of fit)

4 / 7

The child is _______ back in fear as the thunderstorm approaches.

5 / 7

The ice cubes _____ after I put it under the hot summer sun yesterday.

6 / 7

These jeans always _____ a little after a few washes.

7 / 7

The population of the town _____ significantly 2 years ago because people moved away to find new jobs.

Your score is

The average score is 85%



What Is A Common Idiom And Phrasal Verb Of Shrink?

A shrinking violet: An idiom refers to an extremely shy, timid, or introverted person. It often describes someone who tends to withdraw from social interactions and avoids attention. 


  • Sarah is such a shrinking violet that she rarely speaks up during meetings and prefers to stay in the background.
  • Mark is known as a shrinking violet at parties. He usually stays quiet and avoids the spotlight.

Shrink from: A phrasal verb describes the act of moving back or unwilling to do something. It implies a hesitance or aversion towards a difficult situation.


  • The fearless firefighter never shrinks from danger, rushing into burning buildings to save lives.
  • Due to stage fright, John eventually shrank from presenting in front of a large audience.

Can We Use “Shrink” As A Noun?

Yes, “shrink” can also be used as a noun. It refers to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, a mental health professional who provides therapy or counseling services.


  • I scheduled an appointment with a shrink to discuss my anxiety issues.
  • The company hired a new shrink to provide counseling services to employees.

Is “Shrunken” The Past Tense Of Shrink?

No. “Shrunken” is not the past tense of “shrink”; it is an adjective describing something that has become smaller, thinner, or reduced in size.


  • The shrunken sweater no longer fit her after being washed in hot water.
  • The old, shrunken apple lay forgotten at the bottom of the fruit basket.

Is Shrink A Transitive Or Intransitive Verb?

The verb “shrink” can be both intransitive and transitive when describing the action of becoming smaller in size or amount. However, if you use shrink to describe a move-back action as you are frightened, it’s an intransitive verb.