1 of 2

adjective (1)

ash·​en ˈa-shən How to pronounce ashen (audio)
: of, relating to, or made from ash wood


2 of 2

adjective (2)

: resembling ashes (as in color)
especially : deathly pale
a face ashen and haggard

Examples of ashen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Perhaps the warmest shade of ash brown in the bunch, this ashen chestnut looks insanely flattering on warm-toned skin types. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 7 Mar. 2024 An ashen corpse drops to the ground, and the dictator moves on with ease, ready to discuss war tactics with his men. Selome Hailu, Variety, 23 Feb. 2024 But before rebuilding can begin and before that fuller history can be fashioned, priceless pieces of Lahaina’s history that survived the fire must be saved from the ashen landscape. Tim Arango, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2023 The effect was to attune the eye to subtle contrasts—the way a gown juxtaposed shiny pewter satin with matte taffeta in a similar hue, or a pair of sequinned ombré trousers changed from charcoal at the hip to faintly ashen at the hem. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 The economic and cultural heart of the island was reduced to an ashen landscape in the deadliest US wildfire in more than 100 years. Ray Sanchez, CNN, 19 Aug. 2023 Now, however, visiting is discouraged as ashen rubble remains, and residents are wary of land grabs by outsiders. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Aug. 2023 Much of the centuries-old town of Lahaina looked like an ashen wasteland in the wake of the wildfire that has destroyed thousands of buildings and sent thousands of residents fleeing for their lives. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 13 Aug. 2023 Residents and reporters who visited Lahaina last week discovered the treasured town, home to cultural and religious sites that date back centuries, had turned into an ashen wasteland. USA TODAY, 13 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ashen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ashen was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ashen

Cite this Entry

“Ashen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: of the color of ashes
: deadly pale
ashen with fear

More from Merriam-Webster on ashen

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