whit·​en | \ ˈ(h)wī-tᵊn How to pronounce whiten (audio) \
whitened; whitening\ ˈ(h)wīt-​niŋ How to pronounce whitening (audio) , -​ᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of whiten

transitive verb

: to make white or whiter snow whitened the hills

intransitive verb

: to become white or whiter

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Synonyms & Antonyms for whiten



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Examples of whiten in a Sentence

His hair whitened as he aged. Bleach will whiten the linens. The new toothpaste whitens teeth.
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Recent Examples on the Web The discounts are so compelling that electric toothbrushes and whitening kits are currently dominating Amazon’s Movers & Shakers chart, which means hundreds of shoppers are adding them to their carts. Christina Butan, PEOPLE.com, "So Many People Are Buying These $35 Crest Whitening Strips Today, They’re Officially Amazon’s Best-Selling Beauty Product," 17 Dec. 2019 This product is only intended for use in cleaning or whitening the appearance of teeth. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "Taking advantage: Is anybody lower on the planet than a coronavirus scammer?," 19 Mar. 2020 In parts of precolonial Southern Africa, some people used mineral and botanical preparations to brighten – rather than whiten or lighten – their skin and hair. Lynn M. Thomas, Quartz Africa, "There’s a complex history of skin lighteners in Africa and beyond," 9 Mar. 2020 This Bluetooth setup manages to pull its weight, coaching you through different brushing modes meant to help whiten your teeth, protect your gums, and deep clean. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "Tech Gadgets to Power Your Wellness Routines, from Meditation to Sleep to Juicing," 11 Feb. 2020 And yet, across social media and on popular photo editing apps, users are given tools to whiten teeth, remove blemishes or reshape facial features. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, "Plastic surgery inspired by filters and photo editing apps isn't going away," 8 Feb. 2020 Those decisions, Huang said, will be left to medical professionals to determine on a case-by-case basis, with services such as teeth whitening and cosmetic surgeries likely needing to be delayed until later dates. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Dallas County closes more businesses, rolls out toilet-paper purchase limit as COVID-19 crisis grows," 22 Mar. 2020 Dental appointments that should be postponed include cosmetic procedures, teeth whitening, routine dental hygiene and orthodonic procedures that don't involve relieving pain, infection or restoring oral functions. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Whitmer orders postponement of nonessential medical, dental procedures," 20 Mar. 2020 This marketing tactic endures in the Kardashian-Jenner clan’s savvy money-making schemes, including Instagram posts for up to $1 million apiece that endorse products from handbags to weight-loss teas to teeth whitening. Alain Sylvain, Quartz, "Why buying into pop culture and joining a cult is basically the same thing," 10 Mar. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for whiten

Time Traveler

The first known use of whiten was in the 15th century

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Statistics for whiten

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whiten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiten. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for whiten


How to pronounce whiten (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whiten

: to make (something) white or whiter or to become white or whiter


whit·​en | \ ˈhwī-tᵊn How to pronounce whiten (audio) , ˈwī- \
whitened; whitening

Kids Definition of whiten

: to make or become white or whiter Bleach whitens sheets.

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More from Merriam-Webster on whiten

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whiten

Spanish Central: Translation of whiten

Nglish: Translation of whiten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whiten for Arabic Speakers

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