blanched; blanching; blanches

transitive verb

: to take the color out of
Age had blanched his hair.
: such as
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
: to bleach by excluding light
blanch the leaves of a plant
: 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
blancher noun

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.
Recent Examples on the Web When the mural was installed in April, fair officials blanched. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 Once peaches become very ripe, the skin sometimes releases easily without needing to blanch them, and they can be peeled the same way. Rishon Hanners, Southern Living, 30 June 2023 Freeze whole ears of blanched corn After blanching, make sure the cooled ears of corn are completely free of water droplets. Patricia S York, Southern Living, 10 Aug. 2023 Onions and cumin seeds are gently sautéed before pinches of ground spices, a ladle of a curry sauce from a base made that morning, several large shrimp, blanched spinach and a splash of cream are added. Yewande Komolafe, New York Times, 21 July 2023 Lawyer John Eastman, blanched by light, looks haunted, a specter. Karen Heller, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2023 The City Council blanched at the cost, neighbors and park advocates opposed the incursion into Dean Park and preservationists worried that all the new building would overwhelm the Kalita. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, 15 Aug. 2023 Here's how to blanch your corn and prepare it for the freezer. Patricia S York, Southern Living, 10 Aug. 2023 They will first be heated to 70 degrees, then briefly blanched at 90 degrees before being rapidly frozen. Stephen Castle, New York Times, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'blanch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English blaunchen, blanchen "to make white, whitewash, whiten (almonds) by parboiling them to remove the skins," borrowed from Anglo-French blanchir, blauncher "to turn white, whiten" (also continental Old French blanchir), derivative of blanc "white" — more at blank entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near blanch

Cite this Entry

“Blanch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to take the color out of : bleach
: to scald in order to remove the skin from or whiten
blanch almonds
: to become white or pale
blancher noun

More from Merriam-Webster on blanch

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