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

That belief is partly why many Irish, Italian and Polish immigrants who came to America in the early 20th century whitened their children's names to avoid persecution and increase their chances of social mobility. John Blake, CNN, "What it's like to be a white woman named LaKiesha," 15 June 2019 For toothpaste specifically designed to whiten teeth, Schwartz favors a range of 60 to 90 RDA. Laura Daily, The Seattle Times, "How charcoal escaped the grill and ended up in your bathroom," 12 Apr. 2019 For even better results, stay away from staining foods and beverages during and after whitening. Melanie Rud, Good Housekeeping, "A Cheat Sheet for Your Whitest Teeth," 25 Nov. 2015 Skylar Grace offers beauty services such as cosmetic airbrush tanning, microblading, cosmetic tattooing and teeth whitening. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Retail wrap: FINS swim school, Kay Jewelers, Joy Love Burgers, Main Squeeze Juice Co. sign up for new spots," 7 June 2019 Shyn also offers toothpaste, whitening strips, and disposable flossers for an additional outlay. Christopher Null, WIRED, "Which Toothbrush Subscription Service Is the Best?," 6 June 2019 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

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

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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