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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 etiolated
Historical Examples
  • His voice was hollow, etiolated like a flower grown in darkness.

    The Jewels of Aptor Samuel R. Delany
  • etiolated, blanched by excluding the light, as the stalks of Celery.

  • The green colour of etiolated plants may be restored by exposure to light.

  • His abstract and etiolated internationalism has been replaced by the warm humanity of writers like, say, David or Pernerstorfer.

  • Suddenly began the plaint of the organ, and some half-dozen voices sang a hymn; and these pale, etiolated voices interested her.

    Evelyn Innes George Moore
  • Then the pale, etiolated voices of the nuns, the wailing of these weak voices—there were three altos, three sopranos—began again.

    Evelyn Innes George Moore
  • Mr. Jevons, however, adduces it as proof of 'the existence of the totem-sacrament,' surviving 'in an etiolated form.'

    Magic and Religion Andrew Lang
  • I had noticed that the woman was raw-boned and stoop-shouldered, with that etiolated yellow flesh that comes of long overwork.

  • Pauline surrendered, and they went across the etiolated lawn towards the entrance.

    Plashers Mead Compton Mackenzie
  • Chicken-hazard is scotched, not killed; but a poor, weazened, etiolated biped is that once game-bird now.

British Dictionary definitions for etiolated


(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 etiolated



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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