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[hwahyt-n, wahyt-n] /ˈʰwaɪt n, ˈwaɪt n/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become white.
Origin of whiten
1250-1300; Middle English whitenen; see white, -en1
Related forms
unwhitened, adjective
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.
blacken. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whiten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Long sheets of hail fell from the clouds, which seemed of very insignificant volume, but they could not whiten the ground.

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

    The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison
  • Melancholy was stronger than Reason, and three or four soft locks were beginning to whiten about his temples.

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

    Prudy Keeping House Sophie May
  • By the time she was again ready for sea, the January snows had begun to whiten the fields about St Malo.

    Marguerite De Roberval T. G. Marquis
  • He said that the teeth should be cleaned, but that it was girlish to whiten them with powder.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Oatmeal and warm water used every night and morning as a wash will whiten and soften the roughest and darkest hands.

  • I was soon despatched; and my bones left to whiten on the sand.

    Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag VI Louisa M. Alcott
  • Her eyelids fell, she began to whiten and to droop, and her hands twitched and trembled.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
British Dictionary definitions for whiten


to make or become white or whiter; bleach
Derived Forms
whitening, 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
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