whitewash

verb
white·​wash | \ ˈhwīt-ˌwȯsh How to pronounce whitewash (audio) , ˈwīt-, -ˌwäsh\
whitewashed; whitewashing; whitewashes

Definition of whitewash

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to whiten with whitewash
2a : to gloss over or cover up (such as vices or crimes) refused to whitewash the scandal
b : to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data
3 : to hold (an opponent) scoreless in a game or contest

whitewash

noun

Definition of whitewash (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a liquid composition for whitening a surface: such as
a : a preparation for whitening the skin
b : a composition (as of lime and water or whiting, size, and water) for whitening structural surfaces
2 : an act or instance of glossing over or of exonerating
3 : a defeat in a contest in which the loser fails to score

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from whitewash

Verb

whitewasher noun

Examples of whitewash in a Sentence

Verb

a book that tries to whitewash the country's past refused to whitewash the governor's chronic disregard for the truth

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The massive birds urinate and defecate all over the place, often whitewashing the entire sidewalk and causing significant property damage, including breaking off large branches that crash into cars and homes. John Spina, The Denver Post, "Longmont residents sick of nasty, vomiting turkey vultures," 21 June 2019 Some critics were quick to lambast Dinklage for whitewashing the role arguing that HBO should have sought out a Filipino actor with dwarfism. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Peter Dinklage addresses whitewashing controversy in new film 'My Dinner with Hervé': 'He was French'," 30 Aug. 2018 Kevin Kwan, the author of the original novel, optioned the movie rights for $1 so that Hollywood wouldn't whitewash the book. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Chrissy Teigen Explained Why It Was So Important for Her Daughter Luna to See "Crazy Rich Asians"," 27 Aug. 2018 Rather than lathering on a transformative layer of paint, whitewashing simply adds a muted coating that still maintains the original wood allure. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "How to Whitewash Wood Furniture: 8 Easy Steps for Your Next Furniture Makeover," 19 Apr. 2019 In the meantime, execs have gone to great lengths to whitewash Asian roles from films, including casting Scarlett Johansson as Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell and Emma Stone as Allison Ng in Aloha. Stephanie Foo, Vox, "Recognizing myself in Crazy Rich Asians.," 8 Aug. 2018 But whether or not whitewashing is ultimately part of the PureFlix project, Chu’s comments did attract attention to Ivanhoe Pictures’s version of the story. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Competing movies about the Thai cave rescue are already in the works," 13 July 2018 Of course, the latter two have been cemented as some of the worst cases of whitewashing in Hollywood. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Emma Stone Shouted "I'm Sorry" at the Golden Globes 2019 After Sandra Oh Called Out Whitewashing in "Aloha"," 7 Jan. 2019 Kevin Kwan, the author of the original novel, optioned the movie rights for $1 so that Hollywood wouldn't whitewash it. Emily Wang, Glamour, "Chrissy Teigen Wrote a Beautiful Note About What Crazy Rich Asians Means for Her Daughter," 27 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The announcement drew condemnations from Palestinians and human rights advocates, who accused the military of a whitewash. Josef Federman, Fox News, "Israel: No criminal action in deadly Gaza 2014 war incident," 15 Aug. 2018 An investigation commissioned by Democratic leaders concluded that her claims couldn’t be substantiated, though Wardlow has called that a whitewash, noting that the attorney who prepared the report has party connections through her firm. Steve Karnowski, The Seattle Times, "Embattled Ellison launches counterattack on GOP opponent," 25 Oct. 2018 Yet the kingdom has been a respected member of the international community and surely understands a whitewash would severely damage its standing. David B. Rivkin Jr. And Lee A. Casey, WSJ, "Saudi Probe Is Not a Job For the U.N.," 23 Oct. 2018 There was no effort to rewrite, or whitewash, what happened. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, "Before Justify, there was Eclipse and a horse-racing war between North and South," 19 May 2018 Sensing, quite sensibly, that an N.F.L. whitewash was on its way, one of his victims — a former Panthers employee who remains unnamed — spoke out with a lengthy piece in April in Sports Illustrated. Michael Powell, New York Times, "A Toothless Investigation Slaps Jerry Richardson on the Wrist," 28 June 2018 Although it was derided as a whitewash by some, John Mann, a Labour MP who leads the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, welcomed the report. The Economist, "Labour’s problem with anti-Semitism," 15 Mar. 2018 But the Vice President of the British Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, called it a whitewash. James Masters, CNN, "The UK's biggest left wing party is mired in an antisemitism crisis," 28 Mar. 2018 Critics say that could allow a whitewash of history. Washington Post, "Far-right, even racist views go mainstream in Central Europe," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whitewash.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of whitewash

Verb

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for whitewash

whitewash

verb

English Language Learners Definition of whitewash

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make (something) whiter by painting it with whitewash
: to prevent people from learning the truth about (something bad, such as a dishonest, immoral, or illegal act or situation)
chiefly British : to defeat (an opponent) easily by winning every game, point, etc.

whitewash

noun

English Language Learners Definition of whitewash (Entry 2 of 2)

: a white liquid mixture used for making surfaces (such as walls or fences) whiter
disapproving : a planned effort to hide a dishonest, immoral, or illegal act or situation
chiefly British : a defeat in a game or contest in which the loser does not score any points

whitewash

verb
white·​wash | \ ˈhwīt-ˌwȯsh How to pronounce whitewash (audio) , ˈwīt-, -ˌwäsh\
whitewashed; whitewashing

Kids Definition of whitewash

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cover with a mixture that whitens
2 : to try to hide the wrongdoing of The company didn't try to whitewash their actions.

whitewash

noun

Kids Definition of whitewash (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mixture (as of lime and water) for making a surface (as a wall) white

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on whitewash

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

WORD OF THE DAY

appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!