Etymology
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Words related to -en

sicken (v.)

c. 1200, sikenen, "to become ill," from sick (adj.) + -en (1). Transitive sense of "to make sick, affect with illness" is recorded from 1610s. Related: Sickened; sickening. The earlier verb in Middle English was simply sick (Old English seocan) "be ill, fall ill." It is attested by 1825 as "affect with loathing or disgust."

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slacken (v.)

early 15c., from slack (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Slackened; slackening.

smarten (v.)

"to make smart, to spruce up, to improve appearance," 1786, from smart (adj.) in its sense of "spruce, trim" + -en (1). Related: Smartened; smartening.

soften (v.)

late 14c., "to mitigate, diminish" (transitive), from soft (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "to make physically soft" is from 1520s; intransitive sense of "to become softer" is attested from 1610s. Soften up in military sense of "weaken defenses" is from 1940. Related: Softened; softening.

steepen (v.)

"become steep or more steep," 1827, from steep (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Steepened; steepening.

stiffen (v.)

early 15c., "make steadfast," from stiff (adj.) + -en (1). Intransitive sense from 1690s. Earlier verb was simply stiff "gain strength, become strong" (late 14c.). Related: Stiffened; stiffener; stiffening. Compare German steifen "to stiffen."

straighten (v.)

1540s (transitive), from straight (adj.1) + -en (1). Intransitive sense from 1891. Related: Straightened; straightening; straightener. The Middle English verb was simply straight (late 14c.).

straiten (v.)

1520s (transitive) "to restrict, make narrow," from strait (adj.) + -en (1). Related: straitened; straitening. Earlier verb was simply strait "to make narrow" (early 15c.).

strengthen (v.)

late 14c., from strength + -en (1). Related: Strengthened; strengthening; strengthener. Earlier verb was simply strength (12c.).

sweeten (v.)

1550s (intransitive), from sweet (adj.) + verbal ending -en (1). Transitive sense ("become sweet") is from 1620s. The Middle English form of the verb was simply sweet, from Old English swetan. Related: Sweetened; sweetening.

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