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

Other Words from sicken

sickener \ ˈsi-​kə-​nər How to pronounce sicken (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.
Recent Examples on the Web There is a more direct way to learn how Omicron compares to earlier variants in its ability to sicken and kill. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, 12 Aug. 2022 But this current strain is unusual because of its ability to sicken not only domestic poultry but wild birds, said Andrew Ramey, director of the molecular ecology laboratory with the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 27 May 2022 Prior to the polio vaccine’s introduction in 1955, summer waves of polio would sicken thousands. Nancy Cutler, USA TODAY, 6 Aug. 2022 Most of the viruses that fall into the bird-flu category do not sicken humans. oregonlive, 18 May 2022 Although most children with covid-19 recover uneventfully, data presented to the CDC panel Friday made clear that this highly contagious virus has managed to sicken thousands of children who were too young until now to get vaccinated. Arkansas Online, 19 June 2022 One key omission was birds, which can carry viruses that are known to sicken humans, the researchers acknowledged. Andrew Joseph, STAT, 29 Apr. 2022 And yet news of individual instances of violence can still shock and sicken us. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 11 July 2022 These scum blooms, known as harmful algal blooms, are natural parts of the ecosystem, but can also release toxins that sicken or even kill people and animals. Yoohyun Jung, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of sicken

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near sicken

sick day



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Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sicken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for sicken


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.


transitive verb
sick·​en | \ ˈsik-ən How to pronounce sicken (audio) \

Medical Definition of sicken

: to make sick

intransitive verb

: to become sick

More from Merriam-Webster on sicken

Nglish: Translation of sicken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sicken for Arabic Speakers


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