[blanch, blahnch]

verb (used with object)

to whiten by removing color; bleach: Workers were blanching linen in the sun.
  1. to scald briefly and then drain, as peaches or almonds to facilitate removal of skins, or as rice or macaroni to separate the grains or strands.
  2. to scald or parboil (meat or vegetables) so as to whiten, remove the odor, prepare for cooking by other means, etc.
Horticulture. (of the stems or leaves of plants, as celery or lettuce) to whiten or prevent from becoming green by excluding light.
  1. to give a white luster to (metals), as by means of acids.
  2. to coat (sheet metal) with tin.
to make pale, as with sickness or fear: The long illness had blanched her cheeks of their natural color.

verb (used without object)

to become white; turn pale: The very thought of going made him blanch.


Origin of blanch

1300–50; Middle English bla(u)nchen < Anglo-French, Middle French blanchir to whiten, derivative of blanc, blanche white; see blank
Related formsblanch·er, noun

Synonyms for blanch

1. See whiten.


[blanch, blahnch]

verb (used with object)

to force back or to one side; head off, as a deer or other quarry.

Origin of blanch

First recorded in 1565–75; variant of blench1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blanch

Contemporary Examples of blanch

  • Most Republicans blanch instinctively at the political rhetoric of “the new Cleveland.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The GOP Flees to the Cleve

    James Poulos

    July 9, 2014

  • His more polemical books, such as Black Mass and Straw Dogs, often posit a worldview bleak enough to make Beckett blanch.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Our Crazy Quest for Immortality

    Malcolm Jones

    May 14, 2011

  • Blanch squash for about one minute, drain and cool with cold water.

    The Daily Beast logo
    5 Healthy Spa Meals

    Ratha Tep

    January 13, 2011

  • Blanch the spinach and parsley in boiling salted water until completely tender and then cool in ice water.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Fresh Picks

    Markus Glocker

    July 6, 2010

  • Even some progressives might blanch at the idea that we ourselves might run the banks.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Limits of a First Term

    Thomas Geoghegan

    October 24, 2008

Historical Examples of blanch

British Dictionary definitions for blanch


verb (mainly tr)

(also intr) to remove colour from, or (of colour) to be removed; whiten; fadethe sun blanched the carpet; over the years the painting blanched
(usually intr) to become or cause to become pale, as with sickness or fear
to plunge tomatoes, nuts, etc, into boiling water to loosen the skin
to plunge (meat, green vegetables, etc) in boiling water or bring to the boil in water in order to whiten, preserve the natural colour, or reduce or remove a bitter or salty taste
to cause (celery, chicory, etc) to grow free of chlorophyll by the exclusion of sunlight
metallurgy to whiten (a metal), usually by treating it with an acid or by coating it with tin
(tr, usually foll by over) to attempt to conceal something

Word Origin for blanch

C14: from Old French blanchir from blanc white; see blank
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 blanch

"to make white, turn pale," c.1400, from Old French blanchir "to whiten, wash," from blanc "white" (11c.; see blank (adj.)). Originally "to remove the hull of (almonds, etc.) by soaking." Intransitive sense of "to turn white" is from 1768. Related: Blanched; blanching.


"to start back, turn aside," 1570s, variant of blench. Related: Blanched; blanching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper