verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
to become whiter or lighter in color.
a bleaching agent.
degree of paleness achieved in bleaching.
an act of bleaching.

before 1050; Middle English blechen, Old English blǣcean, derivative of blāc pale; cognate with Old Norse bleikja, Old High German bleichēn

bleachable, adjective
bleachability, noun
half-bleached, adjective
nonbleach, noun
overbleach, verb
rebleach, verb
semibleached, adjective
unbleached, adjective
unbleaching, adjective

1. See whiten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bleach (bliːtʃ)
1.  to make or become white or colourless, as by exposure to sunlight, by the action of chemical agents, etc
2.  a bleaching agent
3.  the degree of whiteness resulting from bleaching
4.  the act of bleaching
[Old English blǣcan; related to Old Norse bleikja, Old High German bleih pale]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. blæcan "bleach, whiten," from P.Gmc. *blaikjan "to make white" (cf. O.S. blek, O.N. bleikr, Du. bleek, O.H.G. bleih, Ger. bleich "pale;" O.N. bleikja, Du. bleken, Ger. bleichen "to bleach"), from PIE base *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (cf. Skt. bhrajate "shines;" Gk. phlegein "to burn;"
L. flamma "flame," fulmen "lightning," fulgere "to shine, flash," flagrare "to burn;" O.C.S. belu "white;" Lith. balnas "pale"). The same root probably produced black; perhaps because both black and white are colorless, or because both are associated with burning. The noun meaning "a bleaching agent" is recorded from 1898.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
bleach   (blēch)  Pronunciation Key 
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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