\ ˈblēch How to pronounce bleach (audio) \
bleached; bleaching; bleaches

Definition of bleach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to remove color or stains from
2a : to make whiter or lighter especially by physical or chemical removal of color bleach clothing the sun had bleached her hair
b : to remove, make dull, or sanitize as if by removing color bleaches colonialism of its genocidal legacy— H. A. Giroux

intransitive verb

1 : to grow white or lose color
2 of coral : to expel symbiotic zooxanthellae exposing a white skeleton



Definition of bleach (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of bleaching
2 : a preparation used in bleaching
3 : the degree of whiteness obtained by bleaching

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Other Words from bleach


bleachable \ ˈblē-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce bleach (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for bleach

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of bleach in a Sentence

Verb bones bleached white by the sun She bleached her hair blonde.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Anemones are also one of the species most impacted by climate change as extreme heat waves continue to bleach their vibrant colours. Frances Solá-santiago,, 16 June 2021 Wilson track shorts, royal blue, elastic waistband and leg openings, wash in lukewarm water, use mild soap, do not bleach. New York Times, 17 June 2021 Neither could have imagined that in the early years of the 21st century, the ocean would grow warm enough to regularly bleach huge swaths of the Great Barrier Reef. Michelle Nijhuis, The Atlantic, 16 June 2021 Anemones are also one of the species most impacted by climate change as extreme heat waves continue to bleach their vibrant colours. Frances Solá-santiago,, 9 June 2021 The freelance writer and editor in Brooklyn wanted to cut her waist-length dark brown hair to her shoulders and bleach her locks white. New York Times, 22 May 2021 This is reasonably effective at removing the oil from fur but will also probably bleach your dog’s coat. Popular Science, 8 Mar. 2021 Harriet Nelson wasn’t about to impulsively bleach her hair after discovering a lone, gray strand, or burst into a hilarious, blubbering torrent of tears over it. Washington Post, 13 May 2021 Thankfully, Gomez didn't bleach her own hair, which can often have disastrous results. Megan Decker,, 24 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After evacuating the park and conducting preliminary tests of the air and water, investigators found the water had a chemical combination of 35% sulfuric acid and 10-13% bleach, Scott Seifert, the chief of Spring Texas Fire, told reporters. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 18 July 2021 For example, bleach is a powerful disinfectant that removes harmful germs. Alicia Chilton, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 July 2021 While the cause of this illness is still being determined, people are asked to temporarily stop feeding birds and clean bird feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach cleaning solution. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 30 June 2021 The question is: MLS goes on break, Rusnák and Luiz return with bleach hair, and the team wins. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 June 2021 In most non-medical or non-lab settings, wiping down surfaces with bleach solutions or disinfectant solutions or wipes does little to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Robin Lloyd, Scientific American, 18 June 2021 The structure has been reinforced to withstand twisting and bending, the screen is covered with Gorilla Glass Victus, and the whole phone is washable with soap, alcohol, or even bleach. Ewan Spence, Forbes, 18 June 2021 The police union president, Patrick Lynch, tweeted that a toxic substance, possibly bleach, had been put in the drinks. NBC News, 15 June 2021 The compounds that these products emit — which may include hydrogen peroxide, bleach-like solutions or ozone — can be toxic, inflaming the lungs, causing asthma attacks and leading to other kinds of respiratory or cardiovascular problems. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 11 June 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bleach


Middle English blechen, from Old English blǣcean; akin to Old English blāc pale; probably akin to Latin flagrare to burn — more at black entry 1

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Time Traveler for bleach

Time Traveler

The first known use of bleach was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near bleach



bleached ginger

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Statistics for bleach

Last Updated

5 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bleach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for bleach



English Language Learners Definition of bleach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to remove color or dirt and stains from (hair, clothing, etc.) especially through the effect of sunlight or by using chemicals : to make (something) whiter or lighter in color



English Language Learners Definition of bleach (Entry 2 of 2)

: a strong chemical that is used to make something clean or white


\ ˈblēch How to pronounce bleach (audio) \
bleached; bleaching

Kids Definition of bleach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make white by removing the color or stains from



Kids Definition of bleach (Entry 2 of 2)

: a chemical used for bleaching

More from Merriam-Webster on bleach

Nglish: Translation of bleach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bleach for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bleach


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