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[hwahyt-n, wahyt-n] /ˈʰwaɪt n, ˈwaɪt n/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become white.
Origin of whiten
1250-1300; Middle English whitenen; see white, -en1
Related forms
unwhitened, adjective
Whiten, blanch, bleach mean to make or become white. To whiten implies giving a white color or appearance by putting a substance of some kind on the outside: to whiten shoes. To blanch implies taking away natural or original color throughout: to blanch celery by growing it in the dark. To bleach implies making white by placing in (sun) light or by using chemicals: to bleach linen, hair.
blacken. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whiten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Boil for one hour with the lid on the saucepan, that the steam may whiten the fat.

    The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison
  • "Their bones will whiten the plains should they attempt it," the other said scornfully.

    At Aboukir and Acre George Alfred Henty
  • There was just enough snow to whiten the ground, but none to spare.

    Prudy Keeping House

    Sophie May
  • He said that the teeth should be cleaned, but that it was girlish to whiten them with powder.


    William Graham Sumner
  • We had it on the grass last year; seemed as if it never'd whiten out.

    Country Neighbors

    Alice Brown
  • I was soon despatched; and my bones left to whiten on the sand.

    Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag VI Louisa M. Alcott
  • By this time the snow was thicker, and the park beginning to whiten.

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
  • We were ashamed of our red eyes, and hung about for half an hour to whiten them.

  • Rub your hands with the skin of a lemon and it will whiten them.

British Dictionary definitions for whiten


to make or become white or whiter; bleach
Derived Forms
whitening, noun
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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