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 But, in the teeth whitening business, Southard said that customers are looking to receive treatment in a day or two and don't return for about six months. Benjamin Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "'Not hearing anything': Stores at St. Matthews strip mall left in dark after roof collapse," 11 Sep. 2019 Old school smokers used to use Rohto Ice Drops to instantly whiten eyes and to ‘shock’ yourself out of being overly high. Danielle Guercio, chicagotribune.com, "5 simple ways marijuana can help you smash a hangover," 26 Aug. 2019 Making instant involved nothing more than spooning crystals into a mug and adding boiling water, and then maybe whitening the concoction with a powdered creamer. Los Angeles Times, "Instant coffee is back, and snobs are paying $3.25 a cup," 7 Sep. 2019 Services include dental exams, teeth whitening, pediatric dentistry, dental fillings, root canals, oral surgery, crowns, among others. cleveland.com, "Annual CRS SOUPer Bowl Food Drive benefits those in need: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 16 Aug. 2019 The bark of this tree has antimicrobial properties and is also believed to have a whitening effect. Josefine Hirschfeld, CNN, "Not everyone uses a toothbrush to clean their teeth -- here's what science says about the alternatives," 9 July 2019 The hydrogen peroxide acts like an all-fabric bleach to whiten the canvas fabric and the baking soda helps scrub away scuffs and stains. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean White Vans so They Look Brand New," 17 May 2019 This reduces absorption and leads to a whitening effect. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Icebergs can be emerald green. Now we know why.," 15 Mar. 2019 Blue light helps reduce bacteria, causing a whitening effect, while red and infrared lights actually improve gum health by increasing blood flow. Barret Wertz, GQ, "The Best Teeth-Whitening Products for Any Budget," 14 May 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

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for whiten

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

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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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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