• synonyms


See more synonyms for bleach on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to make whiter or lighter in color, as by exposure to sunlight or a chemical agent; remove the color from.
  2. 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.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to become whiter or lighter in color.
Show More
  1. a bleaching agent.
  2. degree of paleness achieved in bleaching.
  3. an act of bleaching.
Show More

Origin of bleach

before 1050; Middle English blechen, Old English blǣcean, derivative of blāc pale; cognate with Old Norse bleikja, Old High German bleichēn
Related formsbleach·a·ble, adjectivebleach·a·bil·i·ty, nounhalf-bleached, adjectivenon·bleach, nouno·ver·bleach, verbre·bleach, verbsem·i·bleached, adjectiveun·bleached, adjectiveun·bleach·ing, adjective


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. See whiten.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for unbleached

Historical Examples

  • He was barefoot, but he wore a clean shirt of unbleached cotton, open at the neck.

    O Pioneers!

    Willa Cather

  • For this the pattern is cut from the whole piece and appliquéd on unbleached cotton.


    Marie D. Webster

  • If tape is used it should be unbleached, such as the sailmakers use.

  • The best sea-stockings are those of substantial, unbleached cotton.

  • The thread with which books are sewn is usually made of linen, unbleached.

British Dictionary definitions for unbleached


  1. not having been made or become white or lighter through exposure to sunlight or by the action of chemical agents, etc
Show More


  1. to make or become white or colourless, as by exposure to sunlight, by the action of chemical agents, etc
Show More
  1. a bleaching agent
  2. the degree of whiteness resulting from bleaching
  3. the act of bleaching
Show More
Derived Formsbleachable, adjectivebleacher, noun

Word Origin

Old English blǣcan; related to Old Norse bleikja, Old High German bleih pale
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 unbleached



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.

Show More



"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."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unbleached in Science


  1. 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.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.