in·​spis·​sate | \ in-ˈspi-ˌsāt How to pronounce inspissate (audio) , ˈin(t)-spə-ˌsāt How to pronounce inspissate (audio) \
inspissated; inspissating

Definition of inspissate

transitive verb

: to make thick or thicker

Other Words from inspissate

inspissation \ ˌin(t)-​spə-​ˈsā-​shən How to pronounce inspissate (audio) , (ˌ)in-​ˌspi-​ˈsā-​ \ noun
inspissator \ in-​ˈspi-​ˌsā-​tər How to pronounce inspissate (audio) , ˈin(t)-​spə-​ˌsā-​ \ noun

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Inspissate is ultimately derived from Latin spissus ("slow, dense") and is related to Greek spidnos ("compact") and Lithuanian "spisti" ("to form a swarm"). When it appeared in English in the 17th century, "inspissate" suggested a literal thickening. Francis Bacon, for example, wrote in 1626 that "Sugar doth inspissate the Spirits of the Wine, and maketh them not so easie to resolue into Vapour." Eventually "inspissate" was also used metaphorically. Clive Bell once wrote of "parties of school children and factory girls inspissating the gloom of the museum atmosphere." There is also an adjective inspissate, meaning "thickened in consistency or "made thick, heavy, or intense," but that word is used even less frequently than the somewhat rare verb.

First Known Use of inspissate

1626, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inspissate

Late Latin inspissatus, past participle of inspissare, from Latin in- + spissus slow, dense; akin to Greek spidnos compact, Lithuanian spisti to form a swarm

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The first known use of inspissate was in 1626

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Cite this Entry

“Inspissate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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