black·​en | \ ˈbla-kən How to pronounce blacken (audio) \
blackened; blackening\ ˈblak-​niŋ How to pronounce blackening (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from blacken

blackener \ ˈblak-​nər How to pronounce blackener (audio) , 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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

After the whole thing is blackened and softened, remove the skin and use the meat in your recipes. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "My Cooking Blow Torch Is My New Favorite Kitchen Tool," 28 Mar. 2019 The fire has blackened 16 square miles (41 square kilometers) of timber and brush and is only 5 percent contained. Fox News, "Latest: Firefighters make progress against biggest blaze," 10 Aug. 2018 Within an hour, the flames had blackened about five acres and prompted one person to evacuate the area as a precaution, officials said. City News Service,, "Fires in Campo near Golden Acorn Casino are 70 percent contained," 12 June 2018 Three courses into ArtCubed's event ArtxFood, diners are presented a plate of duck blackened in squid ink and listed cheekily on the menu as black swan. Sonaiya Kelley,, "When artist Greg Ito collaborates with 'Top Chef's' Richard Blais, you get ArtxFood," 30 May 2018 That said, the meme that undoubtedly inspired the most renewable joy in my blackened, shriveled heart this year is the tiny Pomeranian dancing to the Ducktales theme song while getting a haircut. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which uses acres to describe fire size, said the blaze had blackened nearly 206 square miles (533 square kilometers). Paul Elias, Fox News, "Weather to bring renewed fire danger to Northern California," 4 Aug. 2018 When blackened to liking, swipe the corn through the crema and sprinkle chile powder to taste. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Mexican Street Corn-inspired Baby Corn," 29 Mar. 2018 This fire follows last week's dumpster fire and really blackened a large portion of the Cincinnati sky for a time. Bob Strickley,, "3 headlines you may have missed: Why does garbage keep 🔥? Roebling closed until June. Teens, video games, Doritos," 26 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of blacken

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about blacken

Statistics for blacken

Last Updated

30 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blacken

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for blacken



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 How to pronounce blacken (audio) \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!