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See also: wisen and wiżen


Alternative forms[edit]


Inherited from Middle English wisenen, from Old English wisnian, weosnian, from Proto-Germanic *wisnōjaną, from *wesaną (to consume). Cognate with Icelandic visna, Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌰𐍅𐌹𐍃𐌰𐌽 (frawisan, to squander through feasting).



wizen (comparative more wizen, superlative most wizen)

  1. Wizened; withered; lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness.
    • 1864, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Henry Dunbar[1]:
      His face was wizen and wrinkled, his faded blue eyes dim and weak-looking. He was feeble, and his hands were tremulous with a perpetual nervous motion.
    • 1891, Oscar Wilde, “chapter”, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, London, New York, N.Y., Melbourne, Vic.: Ward Lock & Co., →OCLC:
      Yes, there would be a day when his face would be wrinkled and wizen, his eyes dim and colourless, the grace of his figure broken and deformed. The scarlet would pass away from his lips and the gold steal from his hair.



wizen (third-person singular simple present wizens, present participle wizening, simple past and past participle wizened)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To wither; to become, or make, lean and wrinkled by shrinkage, as from age or illness.
    • 1864, Josiah Gilbert Holland, G. C. Churchill, “The Morning Panorama”, in The Dolomite Mountains: Excursions through Tyrol, Carinthia, Carniola, & Friuli in 1861, 1862, & 1863, London: Longman et al., page 493:
      After wizening with cold for an hour, we ran down to the hut for breakfast, rejoicing in having brought with us some portable soup ; and after a second visit to the summit, started at eight, when the day seemed already far advanced, along with the Bleiberg party, for the descent.
    • 1883, David Christie Murray, Hearts, volume III, London: Chatto & Windus, page 30:
      Where his suspicions were cast no man knew for certain, but his plump features wizened, and his rosy cheeks grew white, his proud head drooped, and he walked with a piteous uncertainty for so pompous and lofty a man.
    • 1920, G. H. Coons, Genevieve Gillette, “Phenol Injury to Apples”, in Annual Report of The Michigan Academy of Science, volume 21, page 327:
      1–2000 solution gave no blackening, the tissues of the apple wizening before any effect was seen.