[ wahyt, hwahyt ]
See synonyms for white on Thesaurus.com
adjective,whit·er, whit·est.
  1. of the color of pure snow, of the margins of this page, etc.; reflecting nearly all the rays of sunlight or a similar light.

  2. light or comparatively light in color.

  1. (of human beings) belonging to a group marked by slight pigmentation of the skin, often of European descent.

  2. for, limited to, or predominantly made up of white people: a white neighborhood.

  3. pallid or pale, as from fear or other strong emotion: white with rage.

  4. silvery, gray, or hoary: white hair.

  5. snowy: a white Christmas.

  6. lacking color; transparent.

  7. (politically) ultraconservative.

  8. blank, as an unoccupied space in printed matter: Fill in the white space below.

  9. Also called al·wite [awl-wahyt] /ˈɔl waɪt/ .Armor. composed entirely of polished steel plates without fabric or other covering.

  10. wearing white clothing: a white monk.

  11. Older Use: Offensive. decent, honorable, or dependable: That's mighty white of you.

  12. auspicious or fortunate.

  13. morally pure; innocent.

  14. without malice; harmless: white magic.

  15. (of wines) light-colored or yellowish, as opposed to red.

  16. refined or processed, as flour.

  17. British. (of coffee) containing milk.

  1. a color without hue at one extreme end of the scale of grays, opposite to black. A white surface reflects light of all hues completely and diffusely. Most so-called whites are very light grays: fresh snow, for example, reflects about 80 percent of the incident light, but to be strictly white, snow would have to reflect 100 percent of the incident light. It is the ultimate limit of a series of shades of any color.: Compare black (def. 19).

  2. a hue completely desaturated by admixture with white, the highest value possible.

  1. quality or state of being white.

  2. lightness of skin pigment.

  3. a person with light-colored skin, often of European descent.

  4. a white material or substance.

  5. the white part of something.

  6. Biology. a pellucid viscous fluid that surrounds the yolk of an egg; albumen.

  7. the white part of the eyeball: He has a speck in the white of his eye.

  8. whites,

    • white or nearly white clothing, as in tennis whites.

    • top-grade white flour.

  9. white wine: Graves is a good white.

  10. a type or breed that is white in color.

  11. Usually whites. a blank space in printing.

  12. White. a hog of any of several breeds having a white coat, as a Chester White.

  13. Entomology. any of several white-winged butterflies of the family Pieridae, as the common cabbage butterflies.

  14. white fabric.

  15. Archery.

    • the outermost ring of the butt.

    • an arrow that hits this portion of the butt.

    • the central part of the butt or target, formerly painted white but now painted gold or yellow.

    • Archaic. a target painted white.

  16. Chess, Checkers. the men or pieces that are light-colored.

  17. Often White . a member of a royalist, conservative, or reactionary political party.

verb (used with object),whit·ed, whit·ing.
  1. Printing.

    • to make white by leaving blank spaces (often followed by out).

    • to whiten (areas of artwork) in retouching preparatory to photoengraving (often followed by out).

  2. Archaic. to make white; whiten.

Verb Phrases
  1. white out,

    • to cover (errors in copy) with a white correction fluid.

    • to censor, as by obliterating words or passages with white ink.

Idioms about white

  1. bleed white, Informal. to be or cause to be deprived of all one's resources: Dishonesty is bleeding the union white.

  2. in the white, in an unfinished state or condition, as furniture wood that has not been stained or varnished.

  1. white around the gills. gill1 (def. 6).

Origin of white

First recorded before 900; Middle English whit(e), Old English hwīt; cognate with German weiss, Old Norse hvītr, Gothic hweits; akin to wheat

Other words from white

  • half-white, adjective
  • un·white, adjective

Other definitions for White (2 of 2)

[ wahyt, hwahyt ]

  1. Andrew Dickson, 1832–1918, U.S. diplomat and pioneer of land-grant education.

  2. Byron R(aymond) "Whizzer", 1917–2002, U.S. lawyer and jurist: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1962–93.

  1. Edmund, born 1940, U.S. novelist.

  2. Edward Douglass, 1845–1921, U.S. jurist: chief justice of the U.S. 1910–21.

  3. Edward H(ig·gins), II [hig-inz], /ˈhɪg ɪnz/, 1930–67, U.S. astronaut: first American to walk in space 1965.

  4. E(l·wyn) B(rooks) [el-win], /ˈɛl wɪn/, 1899–1985, U.S. humorist and poet.

  5. George Leonard, 1838–95, U.S. choral conductor.

  6. Gilbert, 1720–93, English clergyman, naturalist, and writer.

  7. Patrick (Victor Mar·tin·dale) [mahr-tn-deyl], /ˈmɑr tnˌdeɪl/, 1912–90, Australian writer, born in England: Nobel Prize 1973.

  8. Stanford, 1853–1906, U.S. architect.

  9. Stewart Edward, 1873–1946, U.S. novelist.

  10. T(erence) H(an·bur·y) [han-buh-ree], /ˈhæn bə ri/, 1896–1964, English novelist.

  11. Theodore H., 1915–86, U.S. journalist and writer.

  12. Walter Francis, 1893–1955, U.S. civil rights leader and writer: executive secretary of the NAACP 1931–55.

  13. William A(l·an·son) [al-uhn-suhn], /ˈæl ən sən/, 1870–1937, U.S. neurologist, psychiatrist, and writer.

  14. William Allen, 1868–1944, U.S. journalist.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use white in a sentence

  • She took his offered arm with her disengaged hand, as an additional support; and her white face turned a shade whiter.

    Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than the sapphire.

  • The Rector laid his hand on the slender fingers, hot with fever, whiter than they ought to be, betraying life's inward care.

    Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood
  • The sunrays grew whiter and stronger to light up the great rugged stage of Nature.

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham
  • Pliny, and several after him, have said, that the coat of the female panther was whiter than that of the male.

    Buffon's Natural History. Volume VII (of 10) | Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon

British Dictionary definitions for white (1 of 3)


/ (waɪt) /

  1. having no hue due to the reflection of all or almost all incident light: Compare black (def. 1)

  2. (of light, such as sunlight) consisting of all the colours of the spectrum or produced by certain mixtures of three additive primary colours, such as red, green, and blue

  1. comparatively white or whitish-grey in colour or having parts of this colour: white clover

  2. (of an animal) having pale-coloured or white skin, fur, or feathers

  3. bloodless or pale, as from pain, emotion, etc

  4. (of hair, a beard, etc) silvery or grey, usually from age

  5. benevolent or without malicious intent: white magic

  6. colourless or transparent: white glass

  7. capped with or accompanied by snow: a white Christmas

  8. (sometimes capital) counterrevolutionary, very conservative, or royalist: Compare Red (def. 2)

  9. blank, as an unprinted area of a page

  10. (of wine) made from pale grapes or from black grapes separated from their skins

    • (of coffee or tea) with milk or cream

    • (of bread) made with white flour

  11. physics having or characterized by a continuous distribution of energy, wavelength, or frequency: white noise

  12. informal honourable or generous

  13. (of armour) made completely of iron or steel (esp in the phrase white harness)

  14. rare morally unblemished

  15. rare (of times, seasons, etc) auspicious; favourable

  16. poetic, or archaic having a fair complexion; blond

  17. bleed white to deprive slowly of resources

  18. whiter than white

    • extremely clean and white

    • informal very pure, honest, and moral

  1. a white colour

  2. the condition or quality of being white; whiteness

  1. the white or lightly coloured part or area of something

  2. the white the viscous fluid that surrounds the yolk of a bird's egg, esp a hen's egg; albumen

  3. anatomy the white part (sclera) of the eyeball

  4. any of various butterflies of the family Pieridae: See large white, small white, cabbage white

  5. chess draughts

    • a white or light-coloured piece or square

    • (usually capital) the player playing with such pieces

  6. anything that has or is characterized by a white colour, such as a white paint or pigment, a white cloth, a white ball in billiards

  7. an unprinted area of a page

  8. archery

    • the outer ring of the target, having the lowest score

    • a shot or arrow hitting this ring

  9. poetic fairness of complexion

  10. in the white (of wood or furniture) left unpainted or unvarnished

  1. (usually foll by out) to create or leave white spaces in (printed or other matter)

  2. obsolete to make or become white

Origin of white

Old English hwīt; related to Old Frisian hwīt, Old Saxon hwīt, Old Norse hvītr, Gothic hveits, Old High German hwīz (German weiss)

Derived forms of white

  • whitely, adverb
  • whiteness, noun
  • whitish, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for White (2 of 3)


/ (waɪt) /

  1. a person, esp one of European ancestry, from a human population having light pigmentation of the skin

  1. denoting or relating to a White person or White people

British Dictionary definitions for White (3 of 3)


/ (waɪt) /

  1. Gilbert. 1720–93, English clergyman and naturalist, noted for his Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789)

  2. Jimmy. born 1962, English snooker player

  1. Marco Pierre. born 1961, British chef and restaurateur

  2. Patrick (Victor Martindale). 1912–90, Australian novelist: his works include Voss (1957), The Eye of the Storm (1973), and A Fringe of Leaves (1976): Nobel prize for literature 1973

  3. T (erence) H (anbury). 1906–64, British novelist: author of the Arthurian sequence The Once and Future King (1939–58)

  4. Willard (Wentworth) (ˈwɪlɑːd). born 1946, British operatic bass, born in Jamaica

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with white


In addition to the idioms beginning with white

  • white as a sheet
  • white elephant
  • white feather
  • white flag, show the
  • white lie
  • white sale

also see:

  • black and white
  • bleed someone white
  • great white hope
  • show the white feather

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.