sick·​en | \ˈsi-kən \
sickened; sickening\ˈsi-​kə-​niŋ, 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, 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

In Canada, officials issued similar warnings to the two provinces where people were sickened. Candice Choi, The Seattle Times, "Americans, Canadians are warned not to eat romaine lettuce," 21 Nov. 2018 Like other pharmaceutical giants, Bayer has for decades battled mass tort lawsuits in the U.S. alleging its drugs and medical devices sicken or kill people. Ruth Bender, WSJ, "Behind Bayer’s Tough Defense of Roundup," 23 Oct. 2018 More than 20 people who ate salads at McDonald’s restaurants in Illinois have suffered from Cyclosporiasis — an intestinal illness — since mid-May, while 15 were sickened in Iowa. USA TODAY, "Health officials: Dozens in Midwest sickened after eating McDonald's salads," 12 July 2018 The March attack sickened Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent who had sold information to Britain and was living in Salisbury; his daughter, Yulia S. Skripal, who was visiting from Russia; and Detective Sgt. New York Times, "Britain Suggests Russia Is Behind Latest Nerve Agent Case," 9 July 2018 In past outbreaks, about 39 percent of those sickened died. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "China’s refusal to share virus is “scandalous… many could die needlessly”," 28 Aug. 2018 This week, thick green blooms the consistency of a sickening smoothie seeped down the rural Caloosahatchee River toward the southwest coast. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Massive and toxic algae bloom threatens Florida coasts with another lost summer," 29 June 2018 But do take a peek at these sickening photos of the queens on the red carpet, from Miss Vanjie to Asia O'Hara to Kalorie Karbdashian Williams. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Check out these fierce photos from the 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 10 finale," 9 June 2018 Classless club sending Karius and his family sickening death threats., "Merseyside Police Investigating Death Threats Made to Loris Karius After Champions League Final," 28 May 2018

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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Statistics for sicken

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sicken

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

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More Definitions for sicken



English Language Learners Definition of sicken

: to become sick or to cause (someone) to become sick

: to cause (someone) to feel disgusted or angry


sick·​en | \ˈsi-kən \
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 \

Medical Definition of sicken 

: to make sick

intransitive verb

: to become sick

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More from Merriam-Webster on sicken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on sicken

What made you want to look up sicken? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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