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



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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 When searched, the man had more than $1,830 worth of merchandise, including razor cartridges, whitening strips and over-the-counter supplements. John Benson, cleveland, "Man arrested stealing more than $1,000 worth of razor cartridges and whitening strips: Broadview Heights Police Blotter," 4 Dec. 2019 Hello toothpastes start at $3.99, for kids’ formulas in flavors such as apple and watermelon, and go up to $9 for whitening and charcoal options. Claire Ballentine, Bloomberg.com, "The $100 Tube of Toothpaste Is Here," 24 Sep. 2019 From Israelis in Palestinian lands to Caucasians displacing native Americans to Argentines whitening policy against black natives, the right to return—and the conflict that follows it—plagues many countries. Boniface Mwangi, Quartz, "If Israelis have the right of return, we should extend that right to all native people," 18 Sep. 2019 Many of the letters have an early-morning-comedown feel: the whitening window, the excess of reality. James Parker, The Atlantic, "Ode to the Letters of Hunter S. Thompson," 10 Nov. 2019 Hello’s natural whitening fluoride formula glides on like your standard toothpaste, but doesn’t have artificial colors or flavors crammed in. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Natural Products for Your Dopp Kit," 17 Oct. 2019 Instead, the formula uses baking soda, coconut oil, and aloe leaf juice to remove plaque, freshen breath, and whiten teeth. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "Olivia Wilde's Secret for Whiter Teeth Is This $6 Toothpaste from Walmart," 22 Nov. 2019 The hair has changed, the teeth have been whitened, the beard styled and the tattoos added but Ramos is still the apex predator, still the box-office centre-back, still football's Big Bad, still one of the best around. SI.com, "The 20 Best Footballers of the Decade," 14 Oct. 2019 The Bianco Smile Teeth Whitening Kit is designed to whiten your teeth by up to 14 shades. NBC News, "Whitening kits are easier than dentist visits—this one's on sale," 10 Oct. 2019

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

29 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Whiten.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiten. Accessed 19 January 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whiten

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

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).


to insert between existing elements

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