ash-colored; gray.
extremely pale; drained of color; pallid:
His face was ashen.
consisting of .
pertaining to the tree or its timber.
made of wood from the tree.
Contemporary Examples

Jerry Sandusky was alert but ashen as he stood at the defense table to hear his fate.
Sandusky Guilty Verdict: What’s Next for Jerry Diane Dimond June 22, 2012

When the ashen Silda Spitzer appeared with her husband Eliot, it was the last straw.
Weinergate: Men Will Always Cheat Kay Hymowitz June 16, 2011

They forecast an endless and ashen winter for the country that began as a brilliant idea.
Richard Hofstadter and America’s New Wave of Anti-Intellectualism David Masciotra March 8, 2014

Historical Examples

He was coming downstairs with quaking legs; his face was ashen white, and he leaned heavily on the banisters.
Nana, The Miller’s Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille Emile Zola

Slowly, faintly, the colour crept back into that ashen face.
Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini

The colour died into an ashen gray and the air grew cold, with a heaviness beside that dragged at the very soul.
By order of the company Mary Johnston

She stared at him with an ashen face and gulped twice before she could speak.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle

The subtle odor increased in intensity and the Viscount’s face changed from violet to an ashen paleness.
Monte-Cristo’s Daughter Edmund Flagg

At noon there was no sunshine, only a wan, ashen light that suffused the sky.
The Trail of ’98 Robert W. Service

The true Temptation of this world and flesh wears grey rags, dishevelled hair, and an ashen cheek.
Nights in London Thomas Burke

drained of colour; pallid
consisting of or resembling ashes
of a pale greyish colour
of, relating to, or made from the ash tree or its timber

“made of ash wood,” c.1300; see ash (n.2) + -en (2); meaning “ash-colored, whitish-gray, deadly pale” is 1808, from ash (n.1).


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