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[blak-uh n] /ˈblæk ən/
verb (used with object)
to make black; darken.
to speak evil of; defame:
to blacken a person's reputation.
verb (used without object)
to grow or become black.
Origin of blacken
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at black, -en1
Related forms
blackener, noun
2. denigrate, smear, slander, villify, libel, traduce, calumniate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for blacken
Historical Examples
  • You shall tarnish the memory of our father and blacken the honor of our mother.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • But already his swollen tongue was beginning to blacken in his mouth.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet
  • blacken your face and fast really, that the Master of Life may have pity on you and me, and on us all.

    Old Mackinaw W. P. Strickland.
  • I will not blacken any man's reputation to further my own interests.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • A woman I was introduced to here in London once tried to blacken it.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • I'll no let any one blacken the memory o' Thomas Macalister.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • It will burn and blacken outside, which is of no consequence.

    Choice Cookery Catherine Owen
  • It is best not to use an iron point for this, as iron is apt to blacken the leather.

  • Why cannot they blacken their faces and lie in a corner with a crust of bread?

    The Eyes of Asia Rudyard Kipling
  • Tear me away, I say: the veins rise; they blacken; they are filling with new blood.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
British Dictionary definitions for blacken


to make or become black or dirty
(transitive) to defame; slander (esp in the phrase blacken someone's name)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blacken

c.1200, "become black or dark;" early 14c., "make black, darken, dye (hair);" see black + -en (1). Figurative sense of "to besmirch" (with dishonor, etc.) is from early 15c. Related: Blackened; blackening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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