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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  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
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Such an enterprise would seem almost as hopeful as for Lavater to have scrutinized the wrinkles on the Rock of Gibraltar, or for Gall to have mounted a ladder and manipulated the Dome of the Pantheon.
His thin, worn, sallow face was covered with deep wrinkles, which always looked as clean and well washed as the tips of one's fingers after a Russian bath.
Bilibin smiled and the wrinkles on his face disappeared.
Let the reader picture to himself a series of visages presenting successively all geometrical forms, from the triangle to the trapezium, from the cone to the polyhedron; all human expressions, from wrath to lewdness; all ages, from the wrinkles of the new-born babe to the wrinkles of the aged and dying; all religious phantasmagories, from Faun to Beelzebub; all animal profiles, from the maw to the beak, from the jowl to the muzzle.
His face, seamed with deep wrinkles, had taken, with age, a nobler expression, preserving the pallid tones which inspire veneration.
He had a low forehead, small, sharp eyes, puckered about with innumerable wrinkles, and very thin lips, which he made still thinner by pressing them forcibly together.
And now they began to bring white hairs, and scatter them over the head of Ernest; they made reverend wrinkles across his forehead, and furrows in his cheeks.
Babies, though, with all their crimes and errors, are not without their use--not without use, surely, when they fill an empty heart; not without use when, at their call, sunbeams of love break through care-clouded faces; not without use when their little fingers press wrinkles into smiles.
The old housewife, her face covered with wrinkles which wrinkled even her lips, was waiting on Vasili Andreevich.
Under its sign-board, over the threshold, a man with a crabbed-looking face was standing, seemingly plunged in unpleasant thought, if the wrinkles on his forehead and the knitting of his brows were any indication.
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.
He could see no change, save that in the eyes there was a look of cunning and in the mouth the curved wrinkle of the hypocrite.