Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Made of or covered with wax.
  • adj. Pale or smooth as wax: waxen skin.
  • adj. Weak, pliable, or impressionable: waxen minds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Grown.
  • v. Alternative past participle of wax.
  • adj. Made of wax; covered with wax.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to wax.
  • adj. Having the pale smooth characteristics of wax, waxlike, waxy.
  • adj. Easily effaced, as if written in wax.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Made of wax.
  • adj. Covered with wax; waxed.
  • adj. Resembling wax; waxy; hence, soft; yielding.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Made of wax; covered with wax: as, a waxen tablet.
  • Resembling wax; soft as wax; waxy.
  • Easily effaced, as if written in wax.
  • In zoology:
  • Being or consisting of wax: as, the waxen cells of honeycomb.
  • Like wax; waxy.
  • Waxed; having wax-like appendages: as, the waxen chatterer (the Bohemian waxwing).
  • An obsolete or archaic past participle of wax.
  • Archaic present indicative plural of wax.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having the paleness of wax
  • adj. made of or covered with wax

Etymologies

From Middle English waxen, from Old English weaxen, ġeweaxen, past participle of weaxan ("to wax, grow, be fruitful, increase, become powerful, flourish"). More at wax. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old English weaxen ("waxen, made of wax"), equivalent to wax +‎ -en. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • What might be called the waxen period had set in, and the high colourless features seemed to be modelled in that soft, semi-transparent material.

    The Witch of Prague

  • The trees around a Shintô shrine are specially under the protection of the god to whom the altar is dedicated; and, in connection with them, there is a kind of magic still respected by the superstitious, which recalls the waxen dolls, through the medium of which sorcerers of the middle ages in Europe, and indeed those of ancient Greece, as Theocritus tells us, pretended to kill the enemies of their clients.

    Tales of Old Japan

  • Bessy's features seemed to shrink into a kind of waxen quietude -- as though her face were seen under clear water, a long way down.

    The Fruit of the Tree

  • Here and there that woods harlequin, the madrone, permitting itself to be caught in the act of changing its pea-green trunk to madder-red, breathed its fragrance into the air from great clusters of waxen bells.

    All Gold Cañon

  • When did brands start positioning themselves as families, communities, their offices big picnic blankets of giggling executives, their products carved from whimsy and solid, waxen love?

    When familiarity breeds contempt

  • Many had been built crudely and with such haste that they were too short for the occupants, whose pale, waxen feet stuck out.

    A Covert Affair

  • Mann scrapes the ring on his finger and the waxen rail

    K. & V. Mann (*), 1986

  • Yes, she is a heavy pink and white bloom, full, scented, a little waxen.

    Rachel Cusk | Portraits

  • Playing the malevolent, abrasive junkie single mother of a missing kidnap victim, a slatternly, slack-jawed racist, Ryan adopted a drunkard's waxen pallor, honked up the full braying working-class Boston accent and, in those seven minutes, ran a gamut of emotions, from sullen resentment to inappropriate levity and a final descent into abject sobbing – a magnificent shipwreck of a performance.

    Amy Ryan: the Isabelle Huppert of Hollywood

  • His features held the same waxen pallor, spasms jerking his shoulders as he fought back sickness.

    Earl of Durkness

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Char smoothed the back of his finger gently over the brow (the skin was unpliable, cool, waxen) then leered, and between thumb and grimy palm grasped the yellow lardy chin and shook it with hatred.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    August 2, 2008