white

adjective
\ ˈhwīt How to pronounce white (audio) , ˈwīt\
whiter; whitest

Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 13)

1a : free from color
b : of the color of new snow or milk specifically : of the color white
c : light or pallid in color white hair lips white with fear
d : lustrous pale gray : silvery also : made of silver
2a : being a member of a group or race characterized by light pigmentation of the skin
b : of, relating to, characteristic of, or consisting of white people or their culture
c [from the former stereotypical association of good character with northern European descent] : marked by upright fairness that's mighty white of you
3 : free from spot or blemish: such as
a(1) : free from moral impurity : innocent
(2) : marked by the wearing of white by the woman as a symbol of purity a white wedding
b : unmarked by writing or printing
c : not intended to cause harm a white lie white magic
d : favorable, fortunate one of the white days of his life— Sir Walter Scott
4a : wearing or habited in white
b : marked by the presence of snow : snowy a white Christmas
5a : heated to the point of whiteness
b : notably ardent : passionate white fury
6a : conservative or reactionary in political outlook and action
b : instigated or carried out by reactionary forces as a counterrevolutionary measure a white terror
7 : of, relating to, or constituting a musical tone quality characterized by a controlled pure sound, a lack of warmth and color, and a lack of resonance
8 : consisting of a wide range of frequencies used of light, sound, and electromagnetic radiation

white

noun

Definition of white (Entry 2 of 13)

1 : the achromatic object color of greatest lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that reflect diffusely nearly all incident energy throughout the visible spectrum
2a : a white or light-colored part of something: such as
(1) : a mass of albuminous material surrounding the yolk of an egg
(2) : the white part of the eyeball
(3) : the light-colored pieces in a 2-player board game also : the player by whom these are played
(4) : the area of a page unmarked by writing, printing, or illustration
b(1) archaic : a white target
(2) : the fifth or outermost circle of an archery target also : a shot that hits it
3 : one that is or approaches white in color: such as
a : white clothing often used in plural
c : a white mammal (such as a horse or a hog)
d(1) : a white-colored product (such as flour) usually used in plural
(2) : any of numerous butterflies (subfamily Pierinae of the family Pieridae) that usually have the ground color of the wings white and are related to the sulphur butterflies
e whites plural : teeth used in the phrase pearly whites
4 whites plural : leukorrhea
5 : a person belonging to a light-skinned race
6 often capitalized : a member of a conservative or reactionary political group

white

verb
whited; whiting

Definition of white (Entry 3 of 13)

White

biographical name (1)
\ ˈhwīt How to pronounce White (audio) , ˈwīt\

Definition of White (Entry 4 of 13)

Andrew Dickson 1832–1918 American educator and diplomat

White

biographical name (2)

Definition of White (Entry 5 of 13)

Byron Raymond 1917–2002 American jurist

White

biographical name (3)

Definition of White (Entry 6 of 13)

Edward Douglass 1845–1921 American jurist; chief justice U.S. Supreme Court (1910–21)

White

biographical name (4)

Definition of White (Entry 7 of 13)

Elwyn Brooks 1899–1985 American journalist and writer

White

biographical name (5)

Definition of White (Entry 8 of 13)

Gilbert 1720–1793 English clergyman and naturalist

White

biographical name (6)

Definition of White (Entry 9 of 13)

Patrick Victor Martindale 1912–1990 Australian writer

White

biographical name (7)

Definition of White (Entry 10 of 13)

Stanford 1853–1906 American architect

White

biographical name (8)

Definition of White (Entry 11 of 13)

Theodore Harold 1915–1986 American journalist and writer

White

biographical name (9)

Definition of White (Entry 12 of 13)

William Allen 1868–1944 American journalist and writer

White

geographical name

Definition of White (Entry 13 of 13)

1 river 690 miles (1110 kilometers) long in northern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri flowing southeast into the Mississippi River
2 river 250 miles (402 kilometers) long in northwestern Colorado and eastern Utah flowing west into the Green River
3 river 50 miles (80 kilometers) long in southwestern Indiana flowing west into the Wabash River
4 river 325 miles (523 kilometers) long in southern South Dakota flowing east into the Missouri River
5 river 130 miles (209 kilometers) long in northwestern Texas

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Other Words from white

Adjective

whitish \ ˈhwī-​tish How to pronounce whitish (audio) , ˈwī-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for white

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of white in a Sentence

Adjective He was wearing white sneakers. He had a long, white beard. Her lips were white with fear. He turned white when he heard the news. He came from a white middle-class background. His mother is Hispanic and his father is white. Noun the whites of his eyes The cake recipe calls for four egg whites.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There’s a loud crash, and then the black teen is led to a squad car by the two officers, who appear to be white. BostonGlobe.com, "Video showing teen with no arms or legs being tackled and pinned by deputy prompts Arizona investigation - The Boston Globe," 16 Nov. 2019 Reed says Fennell was angry because Stites, who was white, was having an affair with Reed, who is black. Washington Post, "Texas appeals court blocks inmate Rodney Reed’s execution," 16 Nov. 2019 Nationally, more than 75 percent of high school football players in 2006 were white. Ken Belson, New York Times, "A Small Town Gave Up Tackle Football. It Came Storming Back.," 16 Nov. 2019 Hundreds of thousands of people also signed an change.org petition Stites, who was white, was engaged to marry a police officer, Jimmy Fennell, who was initially a suspect in the case. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Texas Appeals Court Halts Execution Of Rodney Reed," 16 Nov. 2019 Reed says Fennell was angry because Stites, who was white, was having an affair with Reed, who is black. Juan A. Lozano, chicagotribune.com, "Texas appeals court blocks scheduled execution of Rodney Reed, whose case has drawn widespread attention over new evidence," 15 Nov. 2019 The video shows the deputy, who is white, crouching on the floor and putting a headlock around a shirtless Immanuel, who is black. NBC News, "Arizona sheriff's deputy tackles 15-year-old boy with no arms or legs," 15 Nov. 2019 Blackwell, who is white, is charged with first-degree reckless injury in a case that’s being prosecuted as a hate crime. SFChronicle.com, "News of the Day From Around the Nation, Nov. 15," 15 Nov. 2019 Of that latter group, about 77% of respondents were white. oregonlive, "Teens in Portland Public Schools say they’re not excited about class, feel little connection to staff and faculty," 14 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Olson, 45, of Chisago City, was referring to his 26-foot white-and-blue fiberglass 1977 Pearson sailboat that has been frozen in the St. Croix River since Nov. 1. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, "Sailboat frozen in St. Croix River may stay out all winter; owner unable to free it Friday," 15 Nov. 2019 Multnomah County’s other goal in pursuing a ban or reduction of flavored nicotine sales is to reduce health disparities between whites and African Americans. oregonlive, "Flavored vaping and tobacco ban proposal for Multnomah County meets impassioned opposition and support," 13 Nov. 2019 The retailer recently introduced two adorable turtleneck sweaters for dogs, one in white and the other in camel, and both of the sweaters happen to have a human-sized twin from Missguided. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Winter Weather Is Here, Which Means It's Time to Get Matching Turtleneck Sweaters with Your Dog," 11 Nov. 2019 The dispute quickly became about more than decibels; it was seen by many as a symbol for the decades-long displacement of black residents by wealthier whites and developers. Rachel Manteuffel, Washington Post, "If D.C. makes go-go its official music, what would its official song be?," 11 Nov. 2019 Women and people of color are misidentified at rates significantly higher than whites and men, and darker skin tones increase one’s chances of being improperly flagged. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Homeland Security will soon have biometric data on nearly 260 million people," 7 Nov. 2019 The popularity of these whirligigs also corresponded to a new vogue for angel food cakes, which necessitated huge volumes of eggs to be beaten, the whites and the yolks separately. Ben Huberman, Longreads, "“Labor-Saving” Kitchen Gadgets End Up Creating More Work for Women," 3 Nov. 2019 The homeownership rate among black Americans tumbled during the housing market’s collapse and has barely recovered, even as whites and other racial groups have made progress. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "The Housing Market Needs More Than Low Mortgage Rates," 31 Oct. 2019 The high costs help explain how Oakland, a hub of African American history and culture, has seen its black population slip from a plurality in 2000 to minority status today, behind whites and Latinos. Los Angeles Times, "How affordable housing activists are trying to thwart cutthroat real estate capitalism," 21 Oct. 2019

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

Adjective

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for white

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English hwīt; akin to Old High German hwīz white and probably to Old Church Slavonic světŭ light, Sanskrit śveta white, bright

Verb

Middle English, from white, adjective

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Time Traveler for white

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for white

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“White.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for white

white

adjective
How to pronounce White (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having the color of fresh snow or milk
: light or pale in color
: of or relating to a race of people who have light-colored skin and who come originally from Europe

white

noun

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

: the very light color of fresh snow or milk
: white clothing
: white clothes used to play sports

white

adjective
\ ˈhwīt How to pronounce white (audio) , ˈwīt\
whiter; whitest

Kids Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of the color of fresh snow : colored white
2 : light or pale in color Her face was white with fear.
4 : belonging to a race of people having light-colored skin
5 : blank entry 1 sense 1 Do not write in white spaces on the page.
6 : not intended to cause harm white lies
7 : snowy sense 1 a white Christmas

Other Words from white

whiteness noun

white

noun

Kids Definition of white (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the color of fresh snow : the opposite of black
2 : the white part of something (as an egg)
3 : white clothing She is dressed in white.
4 : a person belonging to a race of people having light-colored skin

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More from Merriam-Webster on white

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for white

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with white

Spanish Central: Translation of white

Nglish: Translation of white for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of white for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about white

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