thick·​en | \ ˈthi-kən \
thickened; thickening\ ˈthik-​niŋ , ˈthi-​kə-​ \

Definition of thicken

intransitive verb

1a : to become dense the mist thickened
b : to become concentrated in numbers, mass, or frequency
2 : to grow blurred or obscure
3 : to grow broader or bulkier
4 : to grow complicated or keen the plot thickens

transitive verb

1a : to make thick, dense, or viscous in consistency thicken gravy with flour
b : to make close or compact
2 : to increase the depth or diameter of
3 : to make inarticulate : blur alcohol thickened his speech

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from thicken

thickener \ ˈthik-​nər , ˈthi-​kə-​ \ noun

Examples of thicken in a Sentence

I thickened the gravy with flour. When the mixture thickens, add the remaining ingredients. The fog thickened when night fell.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The bones in trotters and shanks provide gelatin, which thickens the stew. Catherine M. Allchin, The Seattle Times, "Packed with flavor and prettily potted, the traditional Alsatian stew baeckeoffe is rich wintertime comfort," 11 Dec. 2018 For those unfamiliar, tube mascara involves a formula that uses a type of polymer to create a physical coating around the lash, physically lengthening and thickening each strand. Megan Mcintyre, Glamour, "This Is the Only True Non-Smudging Mascara I’ve Ever Tried," 27 Aug. 2018 And also tonight, more major breaking news surrounding the deep state go-between Bruce Ohr, how the plot thickens tonight even much more than before. Fox News, "Giuliani: Mueller's investigation is obviously illegitimate," 9 Aug. 2018 Such a condition describes a heart that has been abnormally stretched or thickened. Michael Mccann,, "Examining the Zeke Upshaw Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the NBA," 1 June 2018 The plot is only set to thicken after the season 2 finale, which comes after a roller-coaster mystery of not one but two Black Hoods. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Mark Consuelos on Working With Camila Mendes and KJ Apa, and Playing the Ultimate "Riverdale" Bad Guy," 16 May 2018 These come in packs of 28 active pills (no placebos) and deliver a steady dose of progestin to thicken your cervical mucus and thin your uterine lining. SELF, "Here’s Exactly How to Find the Best Birth Control Pill for You," 14 Sep. 2018 When the occasion calls, the Queen of Funk can, of course, dial up her makeup all the way to diva by thickening her eyeliner still further and defining her jawline with a deft application of contour. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Chaka Khan Reveals the Secrets Behind Her Diva Makeup Ritual," 22 July 2018 With the food processor running, slowly add the canola oil and olive oil, stopping to add the rest of the saffron water when the mixture begins to thicken. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Be Ambitious This Thanksgiving: 3 Bold Recipes From One of L.A.’s Most Talked About Restaurants," 2 Nov. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of thicken

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thicken

Statistics for thicken

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thicken

The first known use of thicken was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thicken



English Language Learners Definition of thicken

: to make (something) thick or thicker or to become thick or thicker


thick·​en | \ ˈthi-kən \
thickened; thickening

Kids Definition of thicken

: to make or become thick Wait for the pudding to thicken.

Other Words from thicken

thickener noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on thicken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thicken

Spanish Central: Translation of thicken

Nglish: Translation of thicken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thicken for Arabic Speakers

Comments on thicken

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


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!