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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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British Dictionary definitions for etiolation


(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
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Word Origin and History for etiolation



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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etiolation in Medicine

etiolation e·ti·o·la·tion (ē'tē-ə-lā'shən)

  1. Paleness or pallor resulting from deprivation of light.

  2. The process of blanching or making pale by withholding light.

e'ti·o·late' v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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etiolation 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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