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From Middle English *thikket, from Old English þiccet, from þicce (thick) + Old English nominal suffix -et. Compare similar German Dickicht (thicket), which is first attested in the 17th century, however.


  • IPA(key): /ˈθɪkɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪkɪt
  • Hyphenation: thick‧et


thicket (plural thickets)

  1. A dense, but generally small, growth of shrubs, bushes or small trees; a copse.
    • 1891, Oscar Wilde, chapter 18, in The Picture of Dorian Gray:
      Suddenly from a lumpy tussock of old grass some twenty yards in front of them, with black-tipped ears erect and long hinder limbs throwing it forward, started a hare. It bolted for a thicket of alders.
  2. (figuratively) A dense aggregation of other things, concrete or abstract.
    He had to complete a thicket of paperwork before he was allowed to join the company.
    • 2013 July 19, Timothy Garton Ash, “Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 18:
      Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too. The current power play consists of an extraordinary range of countries simultaneously sitting down to negotiate big free trade and investment agreements.
  3. (computing, figuratively) The collection of many small linked files created when a document is saved in HTML format by some word processors and web site creation software.

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