white·​ness | \ ˈhwīt-nəs How to pronounce whiteness (audio) , ˈwīt-\

Definition of whiteness

1 : the quality or state of being white: such as
a : white color
c : freedom from stain : cleanness
2 : white substance

Examples of whiteness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The danger of letting whiteness walk off with our joy, our peace, our sense of dignity and self-love, is ever present. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "'White people can be exhausting': How black dignity perseveres in a world made for whiteness," 18 May 2018 Season 2 delves into the more insidious parts of racial politics, like alt-right Twitter and the ingrained whiteness of university secret societies. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Dear White People Season 2 Binge Club: Episodes 1 - 3 Recaps," 4 May 2018 For centuries, hair texture has been used to establish a racial difference and a racial hierarchy, where straighter hair was linked to Europeanness or whiteness, and kinky hair was linked to Africanness or blackness. Noel Cymone Walker, Allure, "Is It Time to Reclaim the Word "Nappy"?," 25 Sep. 2018 And the notion that whiteness is a precondition for full citizenship was affirmed in official rhetoric and policy for most of America’s history — as was the idea that preserving a white majority was a legitimate national interest. Eric Leivtz, Daily Intelligencer, "For Democrats, Immigration Is a Political Problem Without a Policy Solution," 2 July 2018 The magazine has changed significantly for the better over the last few decades, but the habit of seeing black and brown people as the other — that is, of viewing them from the standpoint of whiteness — has never completely gone away. Kainaz Amaria, Vox, "National Geographic’s November cover falls back on a racist cliché," 1 Nov. 2018 Our voices and experiences deserve to be centered in pop culture narratives, and not at the expense of whiteness. Taylor Crumpton, Teen Vogue, "How "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Failed Prudence Night," 1 Nov. 2018 Martin’s attempt to sound white and the operator’s reaction shrewdly emphasize how the perception of whiteness grants a measure of access often closed to people of color. Aisha Harris, New York Times, "When Black Performers Use Their ‘White Voice’," 10 July 2018 White privilege and supremacy dictate that whiteness itself is superior, or at the very least neutral. refinery29.com, "Sorry To Bother You," 10 July 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for whiteness

Last Updated

9 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for whiteness

The first known use of whiteness was before the 12th century

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More from Merriam-Webster on whiteness

Spanish Central: Translation of whiteness

Nglish: Translation of whiteness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whiteness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on whiteness

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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