[ blak-uhn ]
/ 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.

Nearby words

  1. blackcap,
  2. blackcock,
  3. blackcod,
  4. blackcurrant,
  5. blackdamp,
  6. blackened,
  7. blackett,
  8. blackett, patrick maynard stuart,
  9. blackface,
  10. blackfeet

Origin of blacken

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at black, -en1

Related formsblack·en·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blacken

British Dictionary definitions for blacken


/ (ˈblækən) /


to make or become black or dirty
(tr) 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

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