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From Middle English erthen, urthen, from Old English eorþen, *yrþen, *ierþen (made of earth), from Proto-Germanic *irþīnaz, equivalent to earth +‎ -en (adjectival suffix). Cognate with Dutch aarden (earthen), German irden (earthen).



earthen (comparative more earthen, superlative most earthen)

  1. Made of earth or mud.
    • 1826, James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
      A hundred earthen dwellings stood on the margin of the lake []
  2. Made of clay (especially said of pottery).
    • 1589, Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of The English Nation
      ... the Godfathers and Godmothers follow into the midst of the Church, where there is a small table ready set, and on it an earthen pot ful of warme water, []
  3. (archaic) Earthly.
    • 1903, Maria Lydia Winkler, From Glory to Glory; Or, The Christian's Glorious Ministry (page 228)
      Will they be yours when one by one these earthen / Delights and comforts and all beauties wane? / Will they be found laid up above, illumined?