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

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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

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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

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 The fire destroyed more than 100 homes and has blackened an area about the size of the city of Los Angeles. Fox News, "Firefighters battle to curb wildfire before winds return," 10 Aug. 2018 Drizzle the wedges with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then char the hell out of them until each side is blackened, lacy, and crisp. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appetit, "This Charred Cabbage with Goat Cheese Recipe Is Vegetarian Grilling at Its Best," 4 June 2018 There are few frills to Patsy’s slice, flavored with an ooze of sweet and light tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, all anchored by its signature thin coal-oven crust that's blackened in an old-timey way that few pizzerias can execute. Keith Flanagan, Condé Nast Traveler, "19 Best Places for Pizza in New York City," 1 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.

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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

19 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blacken

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

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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.

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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

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