white

adjective
\ ˈ(h)wīt How to pronounce white (audio) \
whiter; whitest

Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 13)

1a : having the color of new snow or milk specifically : of the color white (see white entry 2 sense 1) white socks a white rabbit
b : light or pale in color white hair white wine lips white with fear
c : free from color : clear, transparent white vinegar vodka and other white liquors
d : lustrous pale gray : silvery white alloy wheels also : made of silver … each ball containing 1.366 ounces of pure silver, would cost $204.90 compared with $5.29 at the white metal's pre-1967 price of 1.29 … — William L. Silber
2a or less commonly White : of or relating to any of various population groups considered as having light pigmentation of the skin

Note: The meaning of white as it relates to population groups has historically been fluid, with people of particular ancestries being excluded for a time before being included, and vice versa. The category has also often functioned as a grouping into which people who are not designated as belonging in some other category are placed. Specific parameters are, however, sometimes set, as in the U.S. 2020 Census, which stipulates that "the category of 'White' includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa."

b or less commonly White : of or relating to white people or their culture books from the canon of white literature
c [from the former stereotypical and racist association of good character with northern European descent] dated, offensive : marked by upright fairness That's mighty white of you

Note: This use of white is sometimes used ironically.

3 : free from spot or blemish: such as
a(1) : free from moral impurity : innocent the pure white heart of the devout
(2) : marked by the wearing of white by the woman as a symbol of purity a white wedding
b : unmarked by writing or printing a writer trying to will the white space on the page away
c : not intended to cause harm a white lie white magic
d archaic : favorable, fortunate one of the white days of his life— Walter Scott
4a : wearing or habited in white white friars
b : marked by the presence of snow : snowy a white Christmas
5a : heated to the point of whiteness molten white metal
b : notably ardent : passionate white fury
6 [so used from the white flag of the Bourbons (see bourbon entry 1 sense 1)]
a : 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
plural whites

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
2 : 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
3 : a person belonging to any of various population groups considered as having light pigmentation of the skin

Note: This meaning of the noun white is usually used in the plural form and typically in contexts about population groups, as in "a policy supported by many rural whites."

4a : 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
5 whites plural : leukorrhea
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)
\ ˈ(h)wīt How to pronounce White (audio) \

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 \ ˈ(h)wī-​tish How to pronounce White (audio) \ 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 This decision is the latest in a series of similar moves nationwide to remove symbols of white supremacy. Kaanita Iyer, USA TODAY, "Court clears way for removal of Confederate statue at the center of deadly Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally," 1 Apr. 2021 Their pieces center on vulnerability and shame resilience, and ask urgent questions about the impact of white supremacy on Black lives. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "Here Are the 15 New Books You Should Read in April," 1 Apr. 2021 Backers insisted the statues championed not white supremacy, but such virtues as the courage of Confederate soldiers and the right of states to determine their destinies. Washington Post, "Four Confederate statues once stood as Baltimore landmarks. Now their pedestals stand ready to send new messages.," 30 Mar. 2021 And over the past four years, many big companies spoke out against President Donald J. Trump on issues including climate change, immigration and white supremacy. New York Times, "Corporations, Vocal About Racial Justice, Go Quiet on Voting Rights," 29 Mar. 2021 Some of his writing also revealed an affinity for white supremacy. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "Jack London had racist ideas. It's time to rename the square," 28 Mar. 2021 Sometimes America's legacy of white supremacy is hiding in plain sight, literally. Arkansas Online, "Voter suppression is racism," 27 Mar. 2021 Backers insisted the statues championed not white supremacy, but such virtues as the courage of Confederate soldiers and the right of states to determine their destinies. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "4 Confederate statues stood as Baltimore landmarks. Now, their pedestals stand ready to send a new message. But what?," 25 Mar. 2021 In many ways, this is a change from the days of Latasha Harlins, uniting around a common enemy of white supremacy. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The secret to keeping this moment of solidarity between Black and Asian Americans," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tanios' co-defendant, Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, is seen on video discharging spray from a white can with a black top into the face of Sicknick and other officers. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Death of Officer William Evans in new attack is another hit for staggered Capitol Police," 3 Apr. 2021 Luckily, Fred Perry has a great style ready to go for spring’s warm days, featuring classic white with navy and sky blue detailing at the collar and sleeves. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "Shop discounted designer styles for all seasons at Nordstrom’s Spring Sale," 1 Apr. 2021 Courtesy of Walmart Brighten any shelf with an adorable 7-inch gnome dressed in a teal and white striped hat. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, "8 Easter Decor Items You Can Score at Walmart," 26 Mar. 2021 Conversation over a flat white and a chai latte reinforced an attraction for both. New York Times, "The Psychic Said She’d Never Get Married. (They Eloped.)," 26 Mar. 2021 That means no more talk of Mensa in media availabilities, no more signature white Nike Dri-FIT hats and, probably, no more mocking celebratory dances from opposing quarterbacks. Stephen Wagner, Dallas News, "Steve Sarkisian gauges team buy-in, quarterback battle as Longhorns begin spring football practice," 22 Mar. 2021 The rest of that 40 percent have different reasons for white-knuckling the armrests or avoiding flying altogether. Washington Post, "Fear of flying? Use these tools to stay grounded when your anxiety is sky high.," 18 Mar. 2021 Khater is then shown holding a white can that appears to be chemical spray. Clare Hymes, Justin Carissimo, CBS News, "Two arrested in assault on police officer who died after Capitol riot," 16 Mar. 2021 For the white-collars who kept their jobs, the workday ended when the Slack alerts did. Los Angeles Times, "Our pandemic year: When IRL went online," 12 Mar. 2021

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 4a

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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“White.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for white

white

adjective

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.
3 : silvery
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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Comments on white

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