thick·​en | \ ˈthi-kən How to pronounce thicken (audio) \
thickened; thickening\ ˈthik-​niŋ How to pronounce thickening (audio) , 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 How to pronounce thickener (audio) , 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 Add heavy cream and continue simmering, stirring constantly until liquid has started to thicken. National Geographic, "Cardamom and Bay Leaf Spiced Rice Pudding," 21 May 2020 Pour the contents of the blender into a small pan and simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce starts to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Janelle Bitker,, "Oakland chef Bryant Terry brings international flair to vegan recipes," 5 May 2020 Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Beth Segal, cleveland, "The best thing to have in your pantry: Vodka! And here are 3 great recipes to prove it," 6 Apr. 2020 Add a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water as the sauce starts to thicken to keep it slick. Los Angeles Times, "How to Boil Water: Boiling pasta (plus three-ingredient spaghetti carbonara!)," 3 Apr. 2020 Larger spots didn’t have time to fully thin, and smaller spots would have started to thicken again. Quanta Magazine, "How Ancient Light Reveals the Universe’s Contents," 28 Jan. 2020 Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, whisking frequently, until thickened and tender, about 8 minutes. New York Times, "One Tomato Sauce, Four Weeknight Dinners," 6 May 2020 Stir in an egg yolk and return to a simmer until thickened; top with fruit (fresh or dried). Jessica Battliana,, "Countless recipes from your well-stocked pandemic pantry," 18 Mar. 2020 Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Paul Stephen,, "Recipe: Lemon Pudding with Lemonades Girl Scout Cookies," 19 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for thicken

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for thicken

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thicken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for thicken


How to pronounce thicken (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thicken

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


thick·​en | \ ˈthi-kən How to pronounce thicken (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on thicken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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