whit·​en | \ˈhwī-tᵊn, ˈwī-\
whitened; whitening\ ˈhwīt-​niŋ , 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

On Monday, Tom’s of Maine antiplaque and whitening toothpaste, which is fluoride-free, was listed as the second-best selling toothpaste on Amazon’s online buying platform. Jeff Donn, The Seattle Times, "Experts question benefits of fluoride-free toothpaste," 7 Aug. 2018 Norwood police are asking for the public’s help in finding two individuals who allegedly shoplifted approximately $2,000 worth of teeth whitening strips and razors from a Norwood Stop & Shop supermarket earlier this month. Alejandro Serrano, BostonGlobe.com, "Norwood police searching for suspects who allegedly stole $2,000 worth of razors, teeth whitening strips," 25 June 2018 There are a few other discolorations that whitening procedures cannot change. Jill U. Adams, chicagotribune.com, "The pros and cons of whitening your teeth," 1 May 2018 Blue and red LEDs are medically proven to relieve pain, increase circulation, enhance gum health, freshen breath, and, yep, whiten teeth. Barret Wertz, GQ, "The Best Teeth-Whitening Products for Any Budget," 14 May 2018 Although these creams were created in Germany, Korean companies popularized the merging of foundation, moisturizer, anti-aging cream, whitening agent and sunscreen in one product. Marian Liu, CNN, "Beyond beauty: Korean makeup provides 'cosmeceuticals'," 11 Apr. 2018 These picks feature a wide variety of whitening agents, including peroxide, silica, and charcoal, but Wolff urges people to have realistic expectations. Marci Robin, Allure, "The 10 Best Whitening Toothpastes, According to Dentists," 7 Mar. 2018 Think yoga classes in a theater, teeth whitening in a poster shop, happy hours in homes, bridal showers in nail salons, fundraisers in bookstores, church services in an urban loft. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "An Airbnb for party space? Quirky rentals abound on Peerspace," 26 May 2018 There are a few other discolorations that whitening procedures cannot change. Jill U. Adams, Washington Post, "Here’s what it takes to whiten teeth," 28 Apr. 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

17 Nov 2018

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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, ˈwī-\
whitened; whitening

Kids Definition of whiten

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

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Comments on whiten

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a private place of worship

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