sick·​en | \ ˈsi-kən How to pronounce sicken (audio) \
sickened; sickening\ ˈsi-​kə-​niŋ How to pronounce sickening (audio) , ˈsik-​niŋ \

Definition of sicken

intransitive verb

1 : to become sick
2 : to become weary or satiated

transitive verb

1 : to make sick
2 : to cause revulsion in their prejudice sickens me

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Other Words from sicken

sickener \ ˈsi-​kə-​nər How to pronounce sickener (audio) , ˈsik-​nər \ noun

Examples of sicken in a Sentence

Many people sickened and died on the long voyage. The bacteria in the drinking water sickened the whole village. We were sickened by the reports of violence.
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Recent Examples on the Web If approved, a COVID vaccine created by researchers at Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca would be the first licensed vaccine to use a virus that causes colds in chimpanzees but doesn’t sicken people. Scientific American, "Fauci Optimistic About COVID-19 Vaccines, Though Immunity Unknowns Complicate Development," 31 July 2020 How, exactly, does the coronavirus hijack and reprogram human cells to sicken and kill? Jason Fagone,, "‘There’s a cocktail out there that can cure this’: Inside a UCSF-led quest to exploit the coronavirus' weak spots," 26 June 2020 But three of the other four strains also can cause serious human disease, and the fourth is known to sicken pigs and non-human primates. National Geographic, "On the hunt for the next deadly virus," 16 June 2020 Though coronavirus continues to sicken workers, Amazon eliminated the pay bump at the end of May. Rory Linnane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "OSHA investigates COVID complaints at Amazon warehouses in Kenosha," 19 June 2020 The relentless fury and pace of rebellion has forced states to shrug off their stumbling efforts to subdue the novel coronavirus that continues to sicken thousands in the United States. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, "How Do We Change America?," 8 June 2020 Early progress has been reported on several vaccine efforts, as scientists around the world scramble to test possible ways to protect people from the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 5.1 million people globally and killed more than 300,000. NBC News, "Coronavirus vaccine: This week's update from Moderna, Inovio and more," 22 May 2020 The findings, reported late Monday, are a positive sign for regions looking to open up as more patients recover from the pandemic that has sickened at least 4.8 million people. Heesu Lee, Fortune, "Coronavirus patients who seem to catch COVID-19 twice aren’t infectious 2nd time," 19 May 2020 The result is a global pandemic that has sickened at least 3.9 million people and caused more than 274,000 deaths. Los Angeles Times, "Was the coronavirus made in a Wuhan lab? Here’s what the genetic evidence shows," 9 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sicken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sicken

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for sicken

Time Traveler

The first known use of sicken was in the 13th century

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Statistics for sicken

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sicken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sicken


How to pronounce sicken (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sicken

somewhat formal : to become sick or to cause (someone) to become sick
: to cause (someone) to feel disgusted or angry


sick·​en | \ ˈsi-kən How to pronounce sicken (audio) \
sickened; sickening

Kids Definition of sicken

1 : to make or become sick or ill Many of the colonists sickened on the long voyage.
2 : to cause to feel disgusted or angry We were sickened by his cruelty.
sick·​en | \ ˈsik-ən How to pronounce sicken (audio) \

Medical Definition of sicken

: to make sick

intransitive verb

: to become sick

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More from Merriam-Webster on sicken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sicken

Spanish Central: Translation of sicken

Nglish: Translation of sicken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sicken for Arabic Speakers

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