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, foul, 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

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 Once frost blackens the vines, however, tubers can quickly rot. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Perfect Sweet Potatoes In Your Backyard," 15 Mar. 2017 Several seabirds, their feathers blackened by oil spills, have been cleaned up and released to the water. The Washington Post,, "Who wins: truck versus owl, and the owl survives," 8 May 2018 Grill until deeply charred on all sides (pretty much blackened) and a paring knife easily slips through the center, 8–10 minutes per side. Andy Baraghani, Bon Appetit, "Charred Cabbage with Goat Cheese Raita and Cucumbers," 28 May 2018 The fast-moving West Fire leveled homes, blackened hundreds of acres and forced evacuations Friday while tearing through rural neighborhoods near Viejas Casino amid a blistering heat wave, City News Service reported. Ramona Sentinel, "Friday fires prompt county to proclaim local emergency," 6 July 2018 The impact of the giant rock disintegrated into a dust bomb that temporarily blackened the sky. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Adventures in the shadow of nature’s greatest powers," 29 Apr. 2018 Firefighters, Chicago police, and arson investigators were on scene investigating the fire that appeared to have gutted the red SUV and white pickup truck in the driveway and blackened the brick wall of the house they were parked outside of. Hannah Leone,, "Woman dead, several taken to hospitals after 3 early morning fires," 14 July 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

15 Oct 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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Comments on blacken

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