\ ˈ(h)wīt How to pronounce white (audio) \
whiter; whitest

Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 13)

1a : free from color
b : of the color of new snow or milk specifically : of the color white
c : light or pallid in color white hair lips white with fear
d : lustrous pale gray : silvery also : made of silver
2a : being a member of a group or race characterized by light pigmentation of the skin
b : of, relating to, characteristic of, or consisting of white people or their culture
c [from the former stereotypical association of good character with northern European descent] : marked by upright fairness that's mighty white of you
3 : free from spot or blemish: such as
a(1) : free from moral impurity : innocent
(2) : marked by the wearing of white by the woman as a symbol of purity a white wedding
b : unmarked by writing or printing
c : not intended to cause harm a white lie white magic
d : favorable, fortunate one of the white days of his life— Sir Walter Scott
4a : wearing or habited in white
b : marked by the presence of snow : snowy a white Christmas
5a : heated to the point of whiteness
b : notably ardent : passionate white fury
6a : conservative or reactionary in political outlook and action
b : instigated or carried out by reactionary forces as a counterrevolutionary measure a white terror
7 : of, relating to, or constituting a musical tone quality characterized by a controlled pure sound, a lack of warmth and color, and a lack of resonance
8 : consisting of a wide range of frequencies used of light, sound, and electromagnetic radiation



Definition of white (Entry 2 of 13)

1 : the achromatic object color of greatest lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that reflect diffusely nearly all incident energy throughout the visible spectrum
2a : a white or light-colored part of something: such as
(1) : a mass of albuminous material surrounding the yolk of an egg
(2) : the white part of the eyeball
(3) : the light-colored pieces in a 2-player board game also : the player by whom these are played
(4) : the area of a page unmarked by writing, printing, or illustration
b(1) archaic : a white target
(2) : the fifth or outermost circle of an archery target also : a shot that hits it
3 : one that is or approaches white in color: such as
a : white clothing often used in plural
c : a white mammal (such as a horse or a hog)
d(1) : a white-colored product (such as flour) usually used in plural
(2) : any of numerous butterflies (subfamily Pierinae of the family Pieridae) that usually have the ground color of the wings white and are related to the sulphur butterflies
e whites plural : teeth used in the phrase pearly whites
4 whites plural : leukorrhea
5 : a person belonging to a light-skinned race
6 often capitalized : a member of a conservative or reactionary political group


whited; whiting

Definition of white (Entry 3 of 13)


biographical name (1)
\ ˈ(h)wīt How to pronounce White (audio) \

Definition of White (Entry 4 of 13)

Andrew Dickson 1832–1918 American educator and diplomat


biographical name (2)

Definition of White (Entry 5 of 13)

Byron Raymond 1917–2002 American jurist


biographical name (3)

Definition of White (Entry 6 of 13)

Edward Douglass 1845–1921 American jurist; chief justice U.S. Supreme Court (1910–21)


biographical name (4)

Definition of White (Entry 7 of 13)

Elwyn Brooks 1899–1985 American journalist and writer


biographical name (5)

Definition of White (Entry 8 of 13)

Gilbert 1720–1793 English clergyman and naturalist


biographical name (6)

Definition of White (Entry 9 of 13)

Patrick Victor Martindale 1912–1990 Australian writer


biographical name (7)

Definition of White (Entry 10 of 13)

Stanford 1853–1906 American architect


biographical name (8)

Definition of White (Entry 11 of 13)

Theodore Harold 1915–1986 American journalist and writer


biographical name (9)

Definition of White (Entry 12 of 13)

William Allen 1868–1944 American journalist and writer


geographical name

Definition of White (Entry 13 of 13)

1 river 690 miles (1110 kilometers) long in northern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri flowing southeast into the Mississippi River
2 river 250 miles (402 kilometers) long in northwestern Colorado and eastern Utah flowing west into the Green River
3 river 50 miles (80 kilometers) long in southwestern Indiana flowing west into the Wabash River
4 river 325 miles (523 kilometers) long in southern South Dakota flowing east into the Missouri River
5 river 130 miles (209 kilometers) long in northwestern Texas

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Other Words from white


whitish \ ˈ(h)wī-​tish How to pronounce whitish (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for white

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of white in a Sentence

Adjective He was wearing white sneakers. He had a long, white beard. Her lips were white with fear. He turned white when he heard the news. He came from a white middle-class background. His mother is Hispanic and his father is white. Noun the whites of his eyes The cake recipe calls for four egg whites.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Like seraphs’ wings, these white flowers fan out beyond the edges of the canvas in a silent gesture of benediction. Colin B. Bailey, The New York Review of Books, "Suffering, Unfaltering Manet," 17 Nov. 2020 As of the first quarter of this year, 44% of Black families owned their own homes compared with 73.7% of white families, according to the U.S. Census. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Black homeowners are twice as likely to have to return to renting than whites," 16 Nov. 2020 In 2016, the nation’s disillusioned voters were not just white, but also Black and Latino. Margot Roosevelt, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class,' by Jim Tankersley," 16 Nov. 2020 For white-collar workplaces, the pandemic has required compliance with the kind of complex workplace-safety regulations that, until recently, applied more to industrial settings than to offices. WSJ, "Companies Tiptoeing Back to the Office Encounter Legal Minefield," 16 Nov. 2020 Fancier additions, like oysters or shaved white truffle, are also available along with wine pairings ($60) chosen by A16’s Shelley Lindgren, with a choice between pours from Italy or California. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco's 101-year-old Tosca Cafe finally reopens after year-long closure," 16 Nov. 2020 That number dropped more recently, with 75% appearing white in the 2016-20 span. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "‘I might lose my mind’: Do theater stages accurately represent Central Florida’s diversity?," 16 Nov. 2020 Although race-specific data lags significantly, the unemployment rate for Black workers is generally two and three times higher than for their white counterparts, said Jeremy Schwartz, an associate economics professor at Loyola University Maryland. Yvonne Wenger, baltimoresun.com, "Pratt mobile job center adapts to coronavirus pandemic in attempt to combat joblessness in Baltimore," 16 Nov. 2020 Under this reading, the main characters’ heroism provides an example of white vitality and intelligence. Shaan Amin, The New Republic, "Why Attack on Titan Is the Alt-Right’s Favorite Manga," 16 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There is no better breakfast than a Scéal morning bun dipped in a milky coffee — for me, a flat white — to bring out the bun's subtle orange flavor. Madison Wilson, TheWeek, "Daydreams of this pastry transport me back to Dublin," 25 Oct. 2020 Steven Spielberg's original summer blockbuster unleashed a great white that put a dangerous edge on the waterlogged adventure. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "From 'The Shining' to 'The Birds,' 25 horror movies to watch before you DIIIIIIIIIIIIE," 21 Oct. 2020 True to their name, gray foxes have grayish salt-and-pepper fur with a white underbelly and a bushy tail with a black stripe and tip. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "S.A.’s Common Critters: San Antonio’s gray foxes becoming more visible with urban sprawl," 13 Oct. 2020 The brand’s steel over-door hook is no exception—in a pristine white, with five hooks for hanging anything from towels to coats. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Over-door hooks for freeing up precious closet space," 8 Oct. 2020 Pour a tart zingy white like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Spanish Albariño with a bright vinaigrette and the salad will actually bring out the fruitiness of the wine. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Peerless (and fearless) wine pairings with vegetarian meals," 8 Oct. 2020 On the screen, my veins were a terrifying white, as if they’d been filled with snow. Sarah Stewart Johnson, The New Yorker, "A Scientist’s Reckoning with the Cruelty of Chance," 4 Oct. 2020 For a sleek, contemporary look, paint built-ins or kitchen cabinetry in Urbane Bronze, then finish the surrounding walls in a warm white to offset the darkness. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Sherwin-Williams Just Announced Its 2021 Color of the Year," 22 Sep. 2020 Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin, a warm off-white, creates a feel that’s airy but cozy. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Jean Liu Creates a Dream Home for a Couple That Loves Entertaining and the Outdoors," 18 Sep. 2020

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


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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for white


Middle English, from Old English hwīt; akin to Old High German hwīz white and probably to Old Church Slavonic světŭ light, Sanskrit śveta white, bright


Middle English, from white, adjective

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Time Traveler for white

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for white

Last Updated

18 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“White.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for white


How to pronounce White (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having the color of fresh snow or milk
: light or pale in color
: of or relating to a race of people who have light-colored skin and who come originally from Europe



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

: the very light color of fresh snow or milk
: white clothing
: white clothes used to play sports


\ ˈhwīt How to pronounce white (audio) , ˈwīt \
whiter; whitest

Kids Definition of white

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of the color of fresh snow : colored white
2 : light or pale in color Her face was white with fear.
4 : belonging to a race of people having light-colored skin
5 : blank entry 1 sense 1 Do not write in white spaces on the page.
6 : not intended to cause harm white lies
7 : snowy sense 1 a white Christmas

Other Words from white

whiteness noun



Kids Definition of white (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the color of fresh snow : the opposite of black
2 : the white part of something (as an egg)
3 : white clothing She is dressed in white.
4 : a person belonging to a race of people having light-colored skin

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