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[thik-uh n] /ˈθɪk ən/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become thick or thicker.
to make or grow more intense, profound, intricate, or complex:
The plot thickens.
Origin of thicken
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English thiknen < Old Norse thykkna. See thick, -en1
Related forms
rethicken, verb
unthicken, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for thicken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then mix in the gravy a small tea-cup full of hot water, and thicken it with a very little browned flour.

  • It was two in the afternoon before the fog began to thicken.

    The Greater Love George T. McCarthy
  • thicken soup with one teaspoon each flour and cornstarch mixed smooth with little water.

    The Story of Crisco Marion Harris Neil
  • Pour on a flat platter and let them stand in the sun until they thicken.

  • To use it, grate it and thicken two gills of boiling milk with a dessert spoonful of it wet in cold water.

    The Young Housekeeper's Friend Mrs. (Mary Hooker) Cornelius
  • Reheat it to boiling point; strain; thicken the liquor for gravy.

  • Add the whites of eggs and beat until the mixture begins to thicken.

    The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887) Mrs. F.L. Gillette
British Dictionary definitions for thicken


to make or become thick or thicker: thicken the soup by adding flour
(intransitive) to become more involved: the plot thickened
Derived Forms
thickener, noun
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 thicken

early 15c. (transitive), 1590s (intransitive), from thick + -en (1). Related: Thickened; thickening. An earlier verb was Old English þiccian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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