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 Many Democrats blanched when Newsom proposed cuts to housing and foster youth programs in January. Andrew Sheeler, Sacramento Bee, 9 May 2024 Before they can be eaten, fava beans need to be blanched, which involves boiling water and then adding salt until the water is as salty as the ocean. Joshua Siskin, Orange County Register, 16 Feb. 2024 Make the vinaigrette, soft-boil the eggs, and blanch the asparagus the day before. get the recipe 26 of 32 Waffle Casserole With all of the salads, sausage, and sides on the Easter brunch menu, this sweet casserole will be a welcome change. Lisa Cericola, Southern Living, 5 Feb. 2024 First, the skin is blanched to tighten and set its shape. Condé Nast, Bon Appétit, 20 Mar. 2024 Yield: 4 servings 1 (3-pound) whole chicken 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley 1 bulb of garlic 1 1/2 ounces blanched hazelnuts 1. Cathy Thomas, Orange County Register, 26 Feb. 2024 Note: To blanch the mustard seeds, place them in a small fine-mesh strainer. Bonnie S. Benwick, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Have a look at her full primer on how to blanch and freeze vegetables. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2024 The Live Local Act, as it was called, was a top priority for the Senate president, and no one blanched at its $711 million price tag. Lawrence Mower, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024

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 20 May. 2024.

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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