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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes until mixture somewhat thickens, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and chickpeas. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Artistry, flavor blends are marks of Moroccan," 10 July 2018 Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until sauce completely thickens and jackfruit is tender. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Pulled Jackfruit Tacos," 13 June 2018 Remove the lid and allow to simmer 2 minutes longer, or until the juices thicken. Maya Wilson, Anchorage Daily News, "Yes – radishes can be delicious cooked, too," 25 May 2018 Stir in the soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 to 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Karoline Boehm Goodnick,, "Recipe: Start a weeknight stir-fry in a very hot pan with skirt steak, sugar snaps, and peppers," 7 May 2018 Stir cornstarch mixture briefly to recombine, then stir it into the soy-vinegar mixture and simmer over low heat about 3 minutes, until sauce thickens enough to coat back of a spoon. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Food without borders' is authentic cuisine for Chicago chef Bill Kim," 1 May 2018 Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring gently (don’t toss), until sauce thickens slightly and coats dumplings, about 4 minutes. Ignacio Mattos, Bon Appetit, "Malfatti with Pancetta and Cherry Tomatoes," 23 Apr. 2018 Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat and continue stirring constantly for a least 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Five finalists vie for 'Best Cupcake Ever' in contest to support literacy," 22 Apr. 2018 Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as the gumbo thickens. Julie Mazziotta,, "Laila Ali Proves That Gumbo Doesn't Have to Be Unhealthy with This Lightened-Up Recipe," 23 Mar. 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.

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First Known Use of thicken

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

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Phrases Related to thicken

the plot thickens

Statistics for thicken

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for thicken

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

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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

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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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