10 January 2005

Word for the Day

etiolate \I-ti-&-LEIT\ transitive verb

1. (Botany) To bleach and alter the natural development of (a green plant) by excluding sunlight.
2. To make pale or sickly.
3. To make weak by stunting the growth or development of.

intransitive verb:
(Botany) To become bleached or whitened, as when grown without sunlight.

Under that etiolated sky all life seemed wrung out.
--Colin Thubron,
The Lost Heart of Asia

[They] had feverish eyes, pale faces and gaunt, etiolated bodies from spending all the hours of daylight shut up in cramped and often humid spaces.
--Hilary Spurling,
The Unknown Matisse
Etiolate comes from French étioler, perhaps for s’éteuler, "to become like straw," from Old French esteule, "stubble or straw," from Latin stipula, "a stalk, straw."

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