inspissated; inspissating

transitive verb

: to make thick or thicker
ˌin(t)-spə-ˈsā-shən How to pronounce inspissate (audio)
in-ˈspi-ˌsā-tər How to pronounce inspissate (audio)

Did you know?

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inspissate was in 1626


Dictionary Entries Near inspissate

Cite this Entry

“Inspissate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

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