etiolate was our Word of the Day on 09/05/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of etiolate in a Sentence
the long, stressful days and sleepless nights gradually etiolated him
Did You Know?
When we first started using "etiolate" in the late 1700s (borrowed from the French verb étioler), it was in reference to purposely depriving growing celery of light. The word traces back to an Old French word for "straw" and is related to the Latin word for "straw" or "stalk," which is "stipula." Nowadays the term for growing veggies as pale as straw is now more likely to be "blanch," which can mean "to bleach (the leaves or stalks of plants) by earthing, boarding, or wrapping," among other things. "Etiolate" is more apt to refer to depriving plants in general of light; when "etiolated," they are sickly, pale, and spindly. The figurative sense of "etiolate" ("to make pallid or feeble") first appeared in the 1800s as a natural outgrowth of the original sense.
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