- to make whiter or lighter in color, as by exposure to sunlight or a chemical agent; remove the color from.
- Photography. to convert (the silver image of a negative or print) to a silver halide, either to remove the image or to change its tone.
- to become whiter or lighter in color.
- a bleaching agent.
- degree of paleness achieved in bleaching.
- an act of bleaching.
Origin of bleach
SynonymsSee more synonyms for bleach on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for bleaching
“The Disney Look does not permit extremes in dyeing, bleaching or coloring,” the rules state.
Without the bleaching of the sun his hair seemed dishwater blond, certainly not golden.The Summer of the Entenmann's Man
July 9, 2010
Did he really have vitiligo or was he just bleaching his skin?The Anti-Oprah
July 12, 2009
Bleaching the ballots: This is a brand-new one, used only once to date.Protest Fashions from Paris
May 3, 2009
Sometimes the bleaching was done with slaked lime or with buttermilk.
This bleaching was called crofting in England, and grassing in America.
The redbird is singing in the tree, his plumage all the brighter for the winter's bleaching.Watch Yourself Go By
Al. G. Field
How does bleaching affect the chemical composition of flour?Human Foods and Their Nutritive Value
The object of bleaching is to free the cotton from its natural color.Textiles
William H. Dooley
- to make or become white or colourless, as by exposure to sunlight, by the action of chemical agents, etc
- a bleaching agent
- the degree of whiteness resulting from bleaching
- the act of bleaching
Word Origin and History for bleaching
Old English blæcan "bleach, whiten," from Proto-Germanic *blaikjan "to make white" (cf. Old Saxon blek, Old Norse bleikr, Dutch bleek, Old High German bleih, German bleich "pale;" Old Norse bleikja, Dutch bleken, German bleichen "to bleach"), from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (cf. Sanskrit bhrajate "shines;" Greek phlegein "to burn;" Latin flamma "flame," fulmen "lightning," fulgere "to shine, flash," flagrare "to burn;" Old Church Slavonic belu "white;" Lithuanian balnas "pale").
The same root probably produced black; perhaps because both black and white are colorless, or because both are associated with burning. Cf. Old English scimian, related to the source of shine (n.), meaning both "to shine" and "to dim, grow dusky, grow dark." Related: Bleached; bleaching.
"act of bleaching," 1887; "a bleaching agent," 1898, probably directly from bleach (v.). The Old English noun blæce meant "leprosy;" Late Old English also had blæco "paleness," and Middle English had blech "whitening or bleaching agent."
- A chemical agent used to whiten or remove color from textiles, paper, food, and other substances and materials. Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, and hydrogen peroxide are bleaches. Bleaches remove color by oxidation or reduction.