verb \ˈblēch\

: to remove color or dirt and stains from (hair, clothing, etc.) especially through the effect of sunlight or by using chemicals : to make (something) whiter or lighter in color

Full Definition of BLEACH

transitive verb
:  to remove color or stains from
a :  to make whiter or lighter especially by physical or chemical removal of color <bleach clothing> <the sun had bleached her hair>
b :  to remove, make dull, or sanitize as if by removing color <bleaches colonialism of its genocidal legacy — H. A. Giroux>
intransitive verb
:  to grow white or lose color
of coral :  to expel symbiotic zooxanthellae exposing a white skeleton
bleach·able \ˈblē-chə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of BLEACH

  1. bones bleached white by the sun
  2. She bleached her hair blonde.

Origin of BLEACH

Middle English blechen, from Old English blǣcean; akin to Old English blāc pale; probably akin to Latin flagrare to burn — more at black
First Known Use: before 12th century



: a strong chemical that is used to make something clean or white

Full Definition of BLEACH

:  the act or process of bleaching
:  a preparation used in bleaching
:  the degree of whiteness obtained by bleaching

First Known Use of BLEACH



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Solid or liquid chemical compound used to whiten or remove the natural colour of fibres, yarns, paper, and textile fabrics. Sunlight was the chief bleaching agent up to the discovery of chlorine in 1774 by Karl Wilhelm Scheele (b. 1742—d. 1786) and the demonstration of its bleaching properties in 1785 by Claude-Louis Berthollet (b. 1748—d. 1822). In textile finishing, the bleaching process is used to produce white cloth, to prepare fabrics for other finishes, or to remove discoloration. Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, and hydrogen peroxide are commonly used as bleaches.


Next Word in the Dictionary: bleached ginger
Previous Word in the Dictionary: bldr
All Words Near: bleach

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up bleach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).