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[blak-uh n] /ˈblæk ən/
verb (used with object)
to make black; darken.
to speak evil of; defame:
to blacken a person's reputation.
verb (used without object)
to grow or become black.
Origin of blacken
1250-1300; Middle English; see black, -en1
Related forms
blackener, noun
2. denigrate, smear, slander, villify, libel, traduce, calumniate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for blacken
Historical Examples
  • And weirdly enough it did suggest those same towering masses of masonry when one sees them blacken against the twilight skies.

    The Metal Monster A. Merritt
  • I will not blacken any man's reputation to further my own interests.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • The desire to blacken his own character was reserved for those occasions when, as he well knew, there would be most publicity.

    Byron Richard Edgcumbe
  • I'll no let any one blacken the memory o' Thomas Macalister.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • Tear me away, I say: the veins rise; they blacken; they are filling with new blood.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • It will burn and blacken outside, which is of no consequence.

    Choice Cookery Catherine Owen
  • The vast flocks that blacken the skies for a few short weeks in November disappear as suddenly as they come.

    A Cotswold Village J. Arthur Gibbs
  • It is best not to use an iron point for this, as iron is apt to blacken the leather.

  • I will content myself with a word or two, and will not blacken further the pages of my Memoirs.

  • blacken your face and fast really, that the Master of Life may have pity on you and me, and on us all.

    Old Mackinaw W. P. Strickland.
British Dictionary definitions for blacken


to make or become black or dirty
(transitive) to defame; slander (esp in the phrase blacken someone's name)
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
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Word Origin and History for blacken

c.1200, "become black or dark;" early 14c., "make black, darken, dye (hair);" see black + -en (1). Figurative sense of "to besmirch" (with dishonor, etc.) is from early 15c. Related: Blackened; blackening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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