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[ee-tee-uh-leyt] /ˈi ti əˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), etiolated, etiolating.
to cause (a plant) to whiten or grow pale by excluding light:
to etiolate celery.
to cause to become weakened or sickly; drain of color or vigor.
verb (used without object), etiolated, etiolating.
(of plants) to whiten or grow pale through lack of light.
Origin of etiolate
1785-95; < French étioler to make pale, etiolate (plants), probably derivative, based on N French dial. forms, of standard French éteule, Old French estoble, estuble stubble; see -ate1
Related forms
etiolation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for etiolate
Historical Examples
  • I can not believe that, to produce one roseate complexion, she must etiolate a thousand.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
British Dictionary definitions for etiolate


(botany) to whiten (a green plant) through lack of sunlight
to become or cause to become pale and weak, as from malnutrition
Derived Forms
etiolation, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French étioler to make pale, probably from Old French estuble straw, from Latin stipula
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for etiolate

of plants, "grown in darkness," 1791, from French étiolé, past participle of étioler "to blanch" (17c.), perhaps literally "to become like straw," from Norman dialect étule "a stalk," Old French esteule "straw, field of stubble," from Latin stipula "straw." Related: Etiolated.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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etiolate in Science
A pathological condition of plants that grow in places that provide insufficient light, as under stones. It is characterized by elongated stems and pale color due to lack of chlorophyll.

etiolate verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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