Etymology
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Words related to -en

Lenten (adj.)

late Old English lencten "pertaining to Lent," from Lent + -en (2). Elizabethan English had Lenten-faced "lean and dismal" (c. 1600).

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linen (n.)

"cloth from woven flax," early 14c., noun use of adjective linen "made of flax" from Old English līn "flax, linen thread, linen cloth" + -en (2). Old English lin is from Proto-Germanic *linam (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German lin "flax, linen," German Leinen "linen," Gothic lein "linen cloth"), probably an early borrowing from Latin linum "flax, linen," which, along with Greek linon is from a non-Indo-European language. Beekes writes, "Original identity is possible, however, since the cultivation of flax in Central Europe is very old. Still, it is more probable that linon and linum derive from a Mediterranean word. The word is unknown in Indo-Iranian (but the concept is, of course)." Lithuanian linai, Old Church Slavonic linu, Irish lin probably are ultimately from Latin or Greek.

Woolen has begun the same evolution. Meaning "articles of linen fabric collectively" is from 1748, now sometimes extended unetymologically to cotton and artificial fabrics. The Old English noun also carried into Middle English as lin (n.) "linen" and persisted into 17c. and later in technical uses. The Middle English phrase under line (c. 1300) meant "in one's clothes." Linen-lifter (1650s) was old slang for an adulterous male.

oaten (adj.)

"consisting of oats or oatmeal," late 14c., oten, from oat + -en (2). Also "made of stem of the straw of oats," as shepherd's pipes were in poetry.

olden (adj.)

"former, long ago," c. 1400, from old + -en (2). Old English had on ealdum dagum "in former times, long ago."

silken (adj.)

Old English seolcen "made of silk;" see silk + -en (2). The meaning "silk-like, soft and glossy" is from 1510s.

silvern (adj.)

"made of or resembling silver," Middle English silveren, from Old English seolfren "made or consisting of silver;" see silver (n.) + -en (2). Similar formation in German silbern, Dutch zilveren, etc. It fell from use in English other than in poetry.

waxen (adj.)

Old English wexen; see wax (n.) + -en (2).

wheaten (adj.)

"made of wheat," Old English hwæten; see wheat + -en (2).

affrighten (v.)

1620s, expanded form of affright (q.v.), probably suggested by the adjective affright; see -en (1). Related: Affrightened; affrightening.

biggen (v.)

1640s, "to make big, increase," also "grow big, become larger," from big (adj.) + -en (1). As a noun, bigger is attested from mid-15c. for "builder."

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