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


blanch, bleach, blench, decolorize, dull, fade, pale, snow, wash out


darken, deepen, embrown

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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

Jenner partnered with a oral care company Moon this year to launch a teeth-whitening pen. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need To Know About Kendall Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics Makeup Collaboration," 4 June 2019 View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on Apr 25, 2019 at 1:06pm PDT To complement her crazy busy lifestyle, Jenner created a whitening pen. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Kendall Jenner on Moon's New Teeth-Whitening Pen and Her 2019 Vibe," 26 Apr. 2019 Consuming acidic foods and beverages, like grapefruit or orange juice, can increase sensitivity as well, so avoid these while whitening and for up to a week afterward, adds Bilobron. Melanie Rud, Good Housekeeping, "A Cheat Sheet for Your Whitest Teeth," 25 Nov. 2015 All the White Moves The biggest smile booster, bar none, is whitening. Abbie Kozolchyk, Good Housekeeping, "Best Tips and Tools to Whiten Your Smile," 7 Jan. 2011 Baking soda's whitening properties will help restore it to its original state. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "11 Surprising Ways to Use Your Baking Soda," 6 Mar. 2019 Find out the best products to use for whitening teeth: The skin surrounding your mouth and teeth is as much an element of a youthful smile as your teeth themselves. Abbie Kozolchyk, Good Housekeeping, "Best Tips and Tools to Whiten Your Smile," 7 Jan. 2011 Factor in a few other unlikely moisture-sappers—Fusco says whitening toothpastes and long-last lipsticks also contribute to dryness—and old-school salves simply might not cut it. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How to Cure Your Chapped Lips This Winter," 31 Jan. 2019 But Crest in recent years didn’t focus on toothpaste with health benefits and instead rolled out new technology around whitening, the spokesman said. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, "Brushers Are Buying Sensodyne’s Pitch," 22 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for whiten

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for whiten

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

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More Definitions for whiten



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whiten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whiten

Spanish Central: Translation of whiten

Nglish: Translation of whiten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whiten for Arabic Speakers

Comments on whiten

What made you want to look up whiten? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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