- to make whiter or lighter in color, as by exposure to sunlight or a chemical agent; remove the color from.
- Photography. to convert (the silver image of a negative or print) to a silver halide, either to remove the image or to change its tone.
- to become whiter or lighter in color.
- a bleaching agent.
- degree of paleness achieved in bleaching.
- an act of bleaching.
Origin of bleach
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for bleach
Of course, in her Neverland they bleach your teeth so white they glow and Madonna coaches you on your convincing British accent.‘Peter Pan Live!’ Review: No Amount of Clapping Brings It to Life
December 5, 2014
The country needs ambulances, bleach, hand sanitizer, medical supplies.Live from San Antonio: Women in the World Texas!
Women in the World
October 23, 2014
Supplies of soap, bleach, or alcohol-based hand gel also were depleted.$10,000 a Month for Ebola Fighters
October 7, 2014
Dead bodies were to be covered in bleach, and typical burial rites of kissing and touching ignored.The Original Ebola Hunter
September 14, 2014
Bodies were covered with bleach and buried, and isolation huts burned.1976 Vs. Today: Ebola’s Terrifying Evolution
September 10, 2014
If ever time could bleach his own soul and conciliate hers, what, what was to become of Aphrodite?The Young Duke
She liked them to bleach on the line, it was almost as good as the grass.A Little Girl in Old Salem
Amanda Minnie Douglas
The first of these is the bleach, or oxidizing mixture of bromide and ferricyanide.Bromide Printing and Enlarging
John A. Tennant
"Lay them on the grass to bleach," said Daisy, with an air of experience.Little Men
Louisa May Alcott
Kiss ye me till I be white, an' that will be an ill web to bleach.The Proverbs of Scotland
- to make or become white or colourless, as by exposure to sunlight, by the action of chemical agents, etc
- a bleaching agent
- the degree of whiteness resulting from bleaching
- the act of bleaching
Word Origin and History for bleach
Old English blæcan "bleach, whiten," from Proto-Germanic *blaikjan "to make white" (cf. Old Saxon blek, Old Norse bleikr, Dutch bleek, Old High German bleih, German bleich "pale;" Old Norse bleikja, Dutch bleken, German bleichen "to bleach"), from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (cf. Sanskrit bhrajate "shines;" Greek phlegein "to burn;" Latin flamma "flame," fulmen "lightning," fulgere "to shine, flash," flagrare "to burn;" Old Church Slavonic belu "white;" Lithuanian balnas "pale").
The same root probably produced black; perhaps because both black and white are colorless, or because both are associated with burning. Cf. Old English scimian, related to the source of shine (n.), meaning both "to shine" and "to dim, grow dusky, grow dark." Related: Bleached; bleaching.
"act of bleaching," 1887; "a bleaching agent," 1898, probably directly from bleach (v.). The Old English noun blæce meant "leprosy;" Late Old English also had blæco "paleness," and Middle English had blech "whitening or bleaching agent."
- A chemical agent used to whiten or remove color from textiles, paper, food, and other substances and materials. Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, and hydrogen peroxide are bleaches. Bleaches remove color by oxidation or reduction.