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[thik-uh n] /ˈθɪk ən/
verb (used with object), verb (used 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for thicken
  • Whether particulates in a mix are hydrophobic or hydrophilic, adding water can thicken the mix.
  • The mixture will thicken up a bit so that it almost coats the back of a spoon.
  • thicken and color the lines so they are visible from across the room.
  • Slightly thicken the stock and add sour cream and, if desired, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken and boil.
  • The simple recipe involves lightly pan frying finely chopped leeks with flour and salt and then adding milk to thicken it.
  • It's actually a gelatinous preparation of the cell walls of red algae, used to thicken the fruit filling.
  • Such a system would continuously spread itself and thicken, expanding by its own internal logic.
  • The second you feel the mixture begin to thicken, start spooning up the candies.
  • The flame should be low so the fish slowly releases its juices, which thicken into a rich sauce.
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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