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-en 1

a. To cause to be: cheapen.
b. To become: redden.
a. To cause to have: hearten.
b. To come to have: lengthen.

[Middle English -enen, -nen, from Old English -nian.]

-en 2

Made of; resembling: earthen.

[Middle English, from Old English.]

-en 3

Used to form the past participle of many irregular verbs: broken, taken.

[Middle English, from Old English.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


suffix forming verbs
cause to be; become; cause to have: blacken; heighten.
[Old English -n-, as in fæst-n-ian to fasten, of common Germanic origin; compare Icelandic fastna]


suffix forming adjectives
of; made of; resembling: ashen; earthen; wooden.
[Old English -en; related to Gothic -eins, Latin -īnus -ine1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. the letter N, n.
2. a space that is half the width of an em.


a prefix forming verbs that have the general sense “to cause (a person or thing) to be in” the place, condition, or state named by the stem; more specifically, “to confine in or place on” (entomb); “to cause to be in” (enrich; enslave; entrust); “to restrict,” typically with the additional sense “on all sides, completely” (encircle; enclose; entwine). This prefix is also attached to verbs in order to make them transitive, or to give them a transitive marker if they are already transitive (enkindle; enliven; enshield).
Also, before labial consonants, em-. Compare be-, in-2.
[Middle English < Old French < Latin in- in-2]


a prefix meaning “within, in,” occurring in loanwords from Greek: energy; enthusiasm.
Also, before labial consonants, em-.
[(< Latin) < Greek; c. in-1, in-2]


a suffix formerly used to form transitive and intransitive verbs from adjectives (fasten; harden; sweeten), or from nouns (heighten; lengthen; strengthen).
[Middle English, Old English -n-, as in Middle English fast-n-en, Old English fǣst-n-ian to make fast, fasten]


a suffix used to form adjectives of source or material from nouns: ashen; golden; oaken.
[Middle English, Old English; c. Old High German -īn, Latin -īnus; compare -ine1]


a suffix used to mark the past participle in many strong and some weak verbs: taken; proven.
[Middle English, Old English; c. German -en, Old Norse -inn]


a suffix used in forming the plural of some nouns: brethren; children; oxen.
[Middle English; Old English -an, case ending of n-stem nouns, as in naman oblique singular, and nominative and acc. pl. of nama name]


a diminutive suffix: kitten; maiden.
[Middle English, Old English, from neuter of -en2]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.