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 Whisk constantly until the custard slightly thickens (lightly coats a spoon). Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "These Sweet Recipes Are Perfect For Celebrating National Frozen Custard Day," 8 Aug. 2019 Don’t worry if some nuts get ground into a powder—they’ll help thicken the dip. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "Go Ahead and Fill Up on This Fiery Cashew Dip," 26 July 2019 In bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until pale and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "White Chocolate and Lavender Madeleines," 30 Apr. 2019 The exhibition includes early works based in abstract expressionism, the pop art style heads, 1970s process painting and a series of colorful pieces where paint becomes three dimensional by thickening it with Patch-n-Paint. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fall arts 2019 | Visual art: At 86, artist Richard Allen Morris still experimenting," 15 Sep. 2019 Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are very soft and the mixture starts to thicken, about 30 minutes. Wolfgang Puck, Twin Cities, "Wolfgang Puck: Cool off with homemade ice cream that captures the essence of summer fruit," 14 Aug. 2019 Whisk on medium to medium-high speed, 2 to 3 minutes, until the cream begins to thicken. Jessie Sheehan, Washington Post, "A peach melba ice box cake is refreshing, seasonal and all-around, well, peachy," 1 Aug. 2019 Once the mayonnaise begins to thicken, continue adding the oil in a very slow, steady stream, until all the oil has been added. Bibby Gignilliat, The Mercury News, "Quick Cook: Grilled Portobello Burgers with Cilantro-Lime Aioli," 27 July 2019 Return the linguiça to the pan and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes., "SOBA WITH MISO BUTTER AND ASPARAGUS," 11 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for thicken

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for thicken

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

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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

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).


to spread as a report or rumor

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