\ˈblanch \
blanched; blanching; blanches

Definition of blanch 

transitive verb

: to take the color out of Age had blanched his hair. : such as

a cooking : to scald or parboil in water or steam in order to remove the skin from, whiten, or stop enzymatic action in (such as food for freezing) blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water

b : to bleach by excluding light blanch the leaves of a plant

c : to make ashen or pale fear blanches the cheek

intransitive verb

: to become white or pale (as from shock or fear) His face blanched with horror. often used figuratively to describe a reaction of shock or dismay that makes someone unwilling or reluctant to proceed Civilians also saw benefits to the system but blanched when talk then included references to $300-plus user fees.— Dan Fales… the managers of the companies blanched at the expenditures necessary to retool factories.— Charles C. Mann

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Other Words from blanch

blancher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for blanch


bleach, blench, decolorize, dull, fade, pale, wash out, whiten


darken, deepen, embrown

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Examples of blanch in a Sentence

Blanch the potatoes before slicing them. a cup of blanched almonds She blanched and remained silent when the store owner accused her of taking the money.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But that move rankled some of the board’s progressive faction, who blanched at the prospect of electing their next president while moderates still hold a 6-5 majority. Dominic Fracassa,, "SF supervisors elect Malia Cohen their president as Breed moves to mayor," 26 June 2018 Vegetables can be raw or lightly steamed or blanched, depending on your dog's preference. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, "4 Holistic Vets Reveal Exactly What They Feed Their Dogs," 5 Apr. 2017 The shocking shade is reminiscent of Brad Pitt, who, in the mid-2000s after his split with wife Jennifer Aniston, hacked off his ’70s shell-like brown coif and sported a neat and cropped blanched ‘do instead. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Breakup Hair Is Hot, Messy, and Strangely Magnetic—Just Ask These Iconic Men," 27 Mar. 2018 Rapidly blanching string beans and shocking them in an ice bath preserves their bright green color and pleasant crunch. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Keep it simple and seasonal in the kitchen during summer," 7 June 2018 Coarsely chop the pods or serve them whole in salads, or blanch the pods to retain their crunch and bring out their vibrant color to serve as a last-minute addition to pastas or rice dishes. Noelle Carter,, "Salads, soups, risotto and other recipe ideas for English and sugar snap peas, now in season," 23 Mar. 2018 Unsweetened: Pack blanched rhubarb tightly into containers, leaving half-inch headspace. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow The Most Pie-Worthy Rhubarb Ever," 30 Mar. 2017 The pencil cactus was emitting a regular dull thump through the synth, while the lemon cypress, blanched to the point of near death, was producing a softer sound. Pelican Bomb,, "Musician Quintron tunes in to toxic waters with new artwork," 21 Feb. 2018 Some places, like McDonald's, get a head start, blanching the fries in 170-degree water, frying in 365-degree vegetable oil for 50 seconds and then freezing. Tarah Knaresboro, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make French Fries Perfectly," 2 Feb. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blanch.' 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 blanch

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for blanch

Middle English blaunchen, from Anglo-French blanchir, from blanc, adjective, white — more at blank

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Statistics for blanch

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blanch

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

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More Definitions for blanch



English Language Learners Definition of blanch

: to put (food items) in boiling water or steam for a short time

: to suddenly have less color in your face because you are afraid, embarrassed, etc.


\ˈblanch \
blanched; blanching

Kids Definition of blanch

2 : to scald so as to remove the skin from Blanch the tomatoes.

3 : to turn pale Sickened by the news, I blanched and turned away.

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Comments on blanch

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


playful or foolish behavior

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