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1. A small furrow, ridge, or crease on a normally smooth surface, caused by crumpling, folding, or shrinking.
2. A line or crease in the skin, as from age.
3. A different or unexpected development, action, or idea: "The 1973 War brought a new wrinkle to the face of battle ... the widespread use of rockets and guided missiles" (Bruce Watson).
4. A problem or imperfection: The report had to be revised because of a few wrinkles.
v. wrin·kled, wrin·kling, wrin·kles
1. To make wrinkles or a wrinkle in: My shirt was wrinkled after being so long in the suitcase.
2. To draw up into wrinkles; pucker: wrinkled her nose in disdain.
To form wrinkles.

[Middle English, back-formation from wrinkled, wrinkled, probably from Old English gewrinclod, past participle of gewrinclian, to wind, crease; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

wrin′kly adj.




  1. All the flesh of him that showed, had creases like miniature gullies in the skin —Paul Horgan
  2. Deep lines that looked like dark parentheses around her lips —Alice McDermott
  3. Face as creased as his trousers —Sumner Locke Elliott
  4. Face as lined as an Indian squaw’s —John Fowles
  5. Face creased up like a fine soft handkerchief —Lawrence Durrell
  6. A face crisscrossed with lines like an old paper bag —Margaret Millar
  7. Face … delicately wrinkled like a fine thin notepaper —Louise Erdrich
  8. The face grows lined and wrinkled like a chart —Karl Shapiro
  9. Face like a withered walnut —Edith Wharton
  10. Face lined as soft leather —Sue Grafton
  11. Face, lined like a much-folded map —Mollie Hardwick
  12. Face lined like a river delta —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  13. Face … marked by a little cross-hatching of fine lines, as though his cheek had lain on corduroy —Harvey Swados
  14. Face marked with gossamer lines like the craze of enamel —Samuel Yellen
  15. Face … savagely gouged, like the land after the passage of a fast-running rain that makes temporary rivers which plow the ground and leave sunbaked veins of rut afterward —Paul Horgan
  16. Face so wrinkled that it was like a parchment loaded with hieroglyphics —G. K. Chesterton
  17. Faces … wrinkled by wind and sun like cured meat —George Garrett
  18. Face wrinkled in deep furrows like the fissures in a red clay road after rain —Ellen Glasgow
  19. Face … wrinkled like the bark of the pine trees —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  20. Face … wrinkling like a bent leather glove —Harvey Swados
  21. Grooves like gashes ran from his nostrils to his mouth-corners —Dashiell Hammett
  22. Had a thousand wrinkles on her face, so that she looked most like an aging Barbie doll —Shelby Hearon
  23. Her face is etched all over with fine lines, as though her skin has been caught under a butterfly net —Daphne Merkin
  24. Her face was wrinkled like a roll-top desk —Arthur Baer
  25. Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead —Eudora Welty
  26. His neck all in wrinkles resembling cracks, criss-crossing one another, as though his neck were made of cork —Ivan Bunin
  27. His skin wrinkled up like crumpled butcher paper —Jonathan Valin
  28. Jagged lines around his eyes, lines like scars from a broken bottle —Richard Lourie
  29. The lines deep graven in the soft skin about her eyes and mouth were like rivers in a black-and-white map —Frank Swinnerton
  30. Lines etched by age, like frost patterns on a windowpane —Dorothea Straus
  31. The lines on her forehead and neck were as if scored with a knife —John Braine
  32. Pink skin scored with wrinkles like the furrows of a corn field —Carlos Fuentes
  33. Shriveling like an overbaked potato —Ira Wood
  34. Skin … wrinkled like a wine-skin —W. Somerset Maugham
  35. Skin wrinkled like an old paper bag —Margaret Millar
  36. Skin wrinkles like paint —Derek Walcott
  37. Stretch marks … looked like streaky bacon held up to the light —David Niven
  38. (On my skin) the wrinkles branch out, overlapping like hair or feathers —Margaret Atwood
  39. Thin long lines like the lines in cracked glass or within a cake of ice —Saul Bellow
  40. A sheaf of fine wrinkles spread [from corners of eyes] like a fan —L. P. Hartley
  41. Wary lines around the corners of his eyes, like sparrow’s claws —Derek Lambert
  42. Wrinkled as an iguana —Richard Ford
  43. Wrinkled as a dry plum —Anon

    A much-used variation: “Wrinkled as a prune.”

  44. [A newborn baby] wrinkled as a head of lettuce —Charles Johnson
  45. Wrinkled as a walnut —Dominique Lapierre
  46. A wrinkled, wizened face, like that of an aged monkey —William Styron
  47. Wrinkle like an apple left uneaten too long —Anon

    Simile makers are greatly drawn to comparisons between apples and wrinkled skin. Some examples from current literature: “Wrinkled as a roasted apple” (Desmond O’Grady); “Wrinkled like a stale apple” (Graham Greene); “Wrinkled like a winter apple” (Isak Dinesen); “Wrinkled like the skin of a winter-kept apple” (Wallace Stegner); “Wrinkles crept into it [a woman’s face] like worms” (Erich Maria Remarque).

  48. The wrinkles in her skin shone like a bright net —Eudora Welty
  49. Wrinkles of delight appearing on the leathery skin like cracks in a shattered safety glass —Robert J. Serling
  50. Wrinkles [in forehead] … rush together like sentinels —Irving Stone
  51. Wrinkling like a potato —W. D. Snodgrass
References in classic literature ?
Some old people keep young at heart in spite of wrinkles and gray hairs, can sympathize with children's little cares and joys, make them feel at home, and can hide wise lessons under pleasant plays, giving and receiving friendship in the sweetest way.
As regards its interior life, a large, dim looking-glass used to hang in one of the rooms, and was fabled to contain within its depths all the shapes that had ever been reflected there,--the old Colonel himself, and his many descendants, some in the garb of antique babyhood, and others in the bloom of feminine beauty or manly prime, or saddened with the wrinkles of frosty age.
He wore a dark feather in his hat, a border of embroidery on his cloak, and a black velvet tunic beneath -- a gentleman advanced in years, with a hard experience written in his wrinkles.
At the time I now write of, Father Mapple was in the hardy winter of a healthy old age; that sort of old age which seems merging into a second flowering youth, for among all the fissures of his wrinkles, there shone certain mild gleams of a newly developing bloom --the spring verdure peeping forth even beneath February's snow.
Meantime, Fedallah was calmly eyeing the right whale's head, and ever and anon glancing from the deep wrinkles there to the lines in his own hand.
In the midst of the mist, however, the visitor would suddenly notice the tense set face, with the two wrinkles graven in the forehead, and the ghastly pallor of the cheeks; and then he would suddenly recollect that it was time he was going on.
Why, he'll read your wrinkles as easy as a book, and not only tell you fifty or sixty things that's going to happen to you, but fifty or sixty thousand that ain't.
Wish and learn to smooth away the surly wrinkles, to raise your lids frankly, and change the fiends to confident, innocent angels, suspecting and doubting nothing, and always seeing friends where they are not sure of foes.
Necessity, which knows no law, either in the drama or out of it, accepted a lad of eighteen as the representative of "Sir Anthony Absolute"; the stage-manager undertaking to supply the necessary wrinkles from the illimitable resources of theatrical art.
She found us here; and presented her uncongenial cheek, the little wrinkles in it filled with hair powder, to Dora to be kissed.
When he fell asleep of an evening, with his knotted hands clenching the sides of the easy-chair, and his bald head tattooed with deep wrinkles falling forward on his breast, I would sit and look at him, wondering what he had done, and loading him with all the crimes in the Calendar, until the impulse was powerful on me to start up and fly from him.
The tall blond man of forty is not much changed in feature from the Godfrey Cass of six-and-twenty: he is only fuller in flesh, and has only lost the indefinable look of youth-- a loss which is marked even when the eye is undulled and the wrinkles are not yet come.