etiolate

To etiolate is to make something, especially a plant, become pale and weak. A lack of sunshine in your back yard might etiolate the roses you planted there.

You can use etiolate to describe what your uncle does to his house plants when he keeps his curtains closed for weeks — causing them to grow long, pale stems and tiny leaves from lack of sunlight. It's more common to find etiolate and the noun etiolation in science textbooks or botanists' studies. Etiolate comes from the French word étioler, "to blanch," and experts speculate that it may literally mean "to become like straw," from the French Norman étule, "a straw."

Definitions of etiolate
  1. verb
    make weak by stunting the growth or development of
    see moresee less
    type of:
    weaken
    lessen the strength of
  2. verb
    make pale or sickly
    “alcohol etiolates your skin”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  3. adjective
    (especially of plants) developed without chlorophyll by being deprived of light
    synonyms: blanched, etiolated
    colorless, colourless
    weak in color; not colorful
  4. verb
    bleach and alter the natural development of (a green plant) by excluding sunlight
    see moresee less
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
Word Family