black·​en | \ˈbla-kən \
blackened; blackening\ˈblak-​niŋ, ˈbla-​kə-​ \

Definition of blacken 

intransitive verb

: to become dark or black the sky blackens

transitive verb

1 : to make black

2 : defame, sully blackened her reputation

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Other Words from blacken

blackener \ˈblak-​nər, ˈbla-​kə-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for blacken


befoul, begrime, bemire, besmirch, daub, dirty, distain [archaic], foul, gaum [dialect], grime, mire, muck, muddy, smirch, smudge, soil, stain, sully


clean, cleanse

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Examples of blacken in a Sentence

Fire had blackened the field. The sky blackened as the storm approached. Their false accusations failed to blacken my reputation. a presidency blackened by scandal
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Recent Examples on the Web

Over a gas flame or under a broiler set to high heat, char peppers until blackened all over. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "The Simplest, Most Comforting Fish Recipe," 18 Oct. 2018 As the city expanded and industrialized, its churches and monuments became blackened with soot and grime; its quays, cluttered with warehouses and frequented by prostitutes. Molly Wizenberg, Town & Country, "Vintage Bordeaux," 14 Jan. 2013 Rub poblanos with oil and grill (or broil), turning twice until blackened, about 5 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Skirt Steak Raja Tacos," 25 July 2018 Crews also had 50 percent containment of a southwestern Colorado fire that has blackened 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) north of Durango. Washington Post, "Wildfires rage through California amid heat rage," 8 July 2018 The result would be an onion slice striped with grill marks, or slightly blackened. Jim Shahin, charlotteobserver, "Go for grateness: 6 simple rules for grilling productively," 12 June 2018 The corpses arrive wrapped in sheets and plastic, blackened and often missing extremities, filling the cavernous, metal-roofed warehouse with the unmistakable stench of death. Sonia Perez D.,, "Grim task as forensic experts ID Guatemala volcano victims; death toll hits 110," 8 June 2018 By the time the sun rose, a building that could be seen for miles around was a blackened, smoking shell. Washington Post, "A year on, horrific Grenfell Tower fire haunts Britain," 14 June 2018 By the time the sun rose, a building that could be seen for miles around was a blackened, smoking shell. Fox News, "A year on, horrific Grenfell Tower fire haunts Britain," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blacken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of blacken

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Statistics for blacken

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blacken

The first known use of blacken was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of blacken

: to make something dark or black or to become dark or black

: to hurt the reputation of (someone or something)


black·​en | \ˈbla-kən \
blackened; blackening

Kids Definition of blacken

1 : to make or become dark or black The storm blackened the sky.

2 : spoil entry 1 sense 2 The scandal will blacken his reputation.

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More from Merriam-Webster on blacken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blacken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blacken

Spanish Central: Translation of blacken

Nglish: Translation of blacken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of blacken for Arabic Speakers

Comments on blacken

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