Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for whiten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Long sheets of hail fell from the clouds, which seemed of very insignificant volume, but they could not whiten the ground.

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

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Melancholy was stronger than Reason, and three or four soft locks were beginning to whiten about his temples.

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

    Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag VI Louisa M. Alcott
  • By the time she was again ready for sea, the January snows had begun to whiten the fields about St Malo.

    Marguerite De Roberval T. G. Marquis
  • By this time the snow was thicker, and the park beginning to whiten.

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Oatmeal and warm water used every night and morning as a wash will whiten and soften the roughest and darkest hands.

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

  • Her eyelids fell, she began to whiten and to droop, and her hands twitched and trembled.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for whiten

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for whiten

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for whiten