thick·​en | \ ˈthi-kən How to pronounce thicken (audio) \
thickened; thickening\ ˈthik-​niŋ How to pronounce thicken (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 thicken (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 Traditional alfredo sauce should always be made alongside fettuccine because the starchy pasta water will be needed to thicken and season the sauce. Katy Severson,, "How to make alfredo sauce," 22 Mar. 2021 Don’t worry if the pesto looks too thin: The sauce will thicken from the pasta starch. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Forget avocado toast. Have you tried avocado pesto?," 18 Mar. 2021 Through tonight: Clouds will thicken and lower into the night. Washington Post, "PM Update: Patchy light rain may have a few snowflakes mixed in early Tuesday," 15 Mar. 2021 Let cool in an ice bath until mixture begins to thicken. Jeremy Harlan, CNN, "These epic Girl Scout cookie-inspired recipes put a new spin on classic flavors," 10 Mar. 2021 Skies will be a little sunnier to start, but clouds will thicken through the day in advance of our Saturday night snow chance. Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, "Saturday Night Snow. 50 Degree Benchmark Ahead," 26 Feb. 2021 Add sauce and continue stirring until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "You can cut fat, calories from sweet and sour chicken by preparing it like a stir-fry," 20 Feb. 2021 Try using corn flour to thicken Cream cheese is a soft, unripened (or fresh) cheese made from cow’s milk. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Bagel seasoning is the MVP of this Super Bowl party dip," 8 Feb. 2021 Using almond or cashew flour will thicken, flavor and add protein to the final gravy, which may be more velvety than perfectly smooth. Washington Post, "How to make pan gravy with or without meat drippings," 11 Nov. 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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thicken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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Comments on thicken

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