[hwahyt-n, wahyt-n]

verb (used with or without object)

to make or become white.

Origin of whiten

1250–1300; Middle English whitenen; see white, -en1
Related formsun·whit·ened, adjective

Synonyms for whiten

Whiten, blanch, bleach mean to make or become white. To whiten implies giving a white color or appearance by putting a substance of some kind on the outside: to whiten shoes. To blanch implies taking away natural or original color throughout: to blanch celery by growing it in the dark. To bleach implies making white by placing in (sun) light or by using chemicals: to bleach linen, hair.

Antonyms for whiten

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whiten

Contemporary Examples of whiten

Historical Examples of whiten

  • Boil for one hour with the lid on the saucepan, that the steam may whiten the fat.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

  • "Their bones will whiten the plains should they attempt it," the other said scornfully.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • There was just enough snow to whiten the ground, but none to spare.

  • He said that the teeth should be cleaned, but that it was girlish to whiten them with powder.


    William Graham Sumner

  • We had it on the grass last year; seemed as if it never'd whiten out.

British Dictionary definitions for whiten



to make or become white or whiter; bleach
Derived Formswhitening, noun
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