[blak-uh nd]
Related formsun·black·ened, adjective


verb (used with object)
  1. to make black; darken.
  2. to speak evil of; defame: to blacken a person's reputation.
verb (used without object)
  1. to grow or become black.

Origin of blacken

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at black, -en1
Related formsblack·en·er, noun

Synonyms for blacken Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for blackened

Contemporary Examples of blackened

Historical Examples of blackened

  • The shop was built of rough boards, and the inside was blackened with soot.

  • My mind misgave me, for Calderon's name is blackened by many curses.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • There were the four blackened walls, and a rusted iron ring in one of them.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • The face of the dead man was distorted and blackened by the agony of strangulation.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • The Captain's face was blackened, and his clothes were scorched, but his spirit was undaunted.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for blackened


  1. to make or become black or dirty
  2. (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 blackened



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