white

adjective
\ ˈhwīt How to pronounce white (audio) , ˈwīt\
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

white

noun

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

white

verb
whited; whiting

Definition of white (Entry 3 of 13)

White

biographical name (1)
\ ˈhwīt How to pronounce White (audio) , ˈwīt\

Definition of White (Entry 4 of 13)

Andrew Dickson 1832–1918 American educator and diplomat

White

biographical name (2)

Definition of White (Entry 5 of 13)

Byron Raymond 1917–2002 American jurist

White

biographical name (3)

Definition of White (Entry 6 of 13)

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

White

biographical name (4)

Definition of White (Entry 7 of 13)

Elwyn Brooks 1899–1985 American journalist and writer

White

biographical name (5)

Definition of White (Entry 8 of 13)

Gilbert 1720–1793 English clergyman and naturalist

White

biographical name (6)

Definition of White (Entry 9 of 13)

Patrick Victor Martindale 1912–1990 Australian writer

White

biographical name (7)

Definition of White (Entry 10 of 13)

Stanford 1853–1906 American architect

White

biographical name (8)

Definition of White (Entry 11 of 13)

Theodore Harold 1915–1986 American journalist and writer

White

biographical name (9)

Definition of White (Entry 12 of 13)

William Allen 1868–1944 American journalist and writer

White

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

Adjective

whitish \ ˈhwī-​tish How to pronounce whitish (audio) , ˈwī-​ \ 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 On a street close to North Point, home to a large pro-Beijing community, a Reuters witness saw one man in a white T-shirt sprawled on the ground with head wounds. NBC News, "Hong Kong reopens after weekend of clashes, protests," 16 Sep. 2019 David, meanwhile, chose a pale blue Dior double-breasted suit, designed by the couple’s close friend Kim Jones, and gave it a more casual finish with a simple white T-shirt and crisp high-top sneakers. Vogue, "Victoria and David Beckham Hit London Fashion Week in His-and-Hers Suiting," 16 Sep. 2019 Thompson, who wore a pristine white Nautica polo shirt and a gold chain, had been relatively lucky. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "A Haphazard Recovery in the Bahamas," 16 Sep. 2019 The soup in each container produced the smell of sweat, odors that collected in a central glass enclosure where a white T-shirt hung. Paul Vanouse, The Conversation, "An artist’s journey into the science of sweat," 12 Sep. 2019 The owner wore a crisp white shirt and had clean, soft hands and was the only guy in the lube shop whose face and clothes weren’t smeared in oil and grease. John Carlisle, Freep.com, "Detroit flower man grows hope, brings beauty to community," 12 Sep. 2019 Meghan arrived at the event wearing two pieces from her line, which was made with a group of fashion collaborators: the white shirt by Misha Nonoo, and the pants from Jigsaw. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears Designs from Her Own Line to Launch Her Capsule Collection," 12 Sep. 2019 People wearing blue shirts opposed the Decoto site, residents in white shirts supported the navigation center and residents in red shirts opposed the navigation center being built anywhere in the city, said Vice Mayor Raj Salwan. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Fremont chooses city hall parking lot for controversial homeless center," 11 Sep. 2019 Rocking a sleek blue suit and a white button-down shirt, the crooner smiled for the camera without his usual buzzed cut, letting his longer, natural hairstyle do all the talking. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "The Weeknd Debuts New Look at Toronto International Film Festival," 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The majority of Hispanics now use Instagram, even though only one-third of whites do. Joseph Cabosky, The Conversation, "4 reasons why social media election data can misread public opinion," 28 Aug. 2019 And while exit polls showed that Trump beat Clinton among white voters in Michigan 57% to 36% in 2016, this poll indicated that 56% of whites either plan to cast a vote for someone else (43%) or are considering voting for another candidate (13%). Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Top Democrats all lead in head-to-head matchups with Trump in Michigan," 28 Aug. 2019 In 1831, Nat Turner launched a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 whites. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 21 Aug. 2019 In less than two days, researchers on board the ship were able to confirm the presence of great whites without having to wait for one to surface and show off its telltale fin. Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Message in a bottle: Forensics meets marine science with eDNA," 15 Aug. 2019 The latest unemployment numbers continue to show the rate for blacks more than double that of whites. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "Minnesota unemployment rises to 3.4 percent," 15 Aug. 2019 The El Paso killer posted a manifesto filled with racist anxiety about the replacement of whites by Hispanics, as well as language that could have been drawn from a Trump rally (see article). The Economist, "America is the only rich country that has frequent mass shootings," 8 Aug. 2019 Biden shot back that when Booker was mayor of Newark, N.J., the city’s Police Department detained or arrested blacks at twice the rate of whites. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Look for aggressive Democratic debates. It’s some candidates’ last chance," 30 July 2019 But 70% of Republicans think the Democratic Party tries to put the interests of minorities over those of whites. Fred Backus And Anthony Salvanto, CBS News, "Most Americans disagree with Trump's "go back" tweets — CBS News poll," 21 July 2019

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

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for white

Adjective

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

Verb

Middle English, from white, adjective

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Statistics for white

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for white

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

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More Definitions for white

white

adjective
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

white

noun

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

white

adjective
\ 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

white

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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More from Merriam-Webster on white

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for white

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with white

Spanish Central: Translation of white

Nglish: Translation of white for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of white for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about white

Comments on white

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