\ ˈblēch How to pronounce bleach (audio) \
bleached; bleaching; bleaches

Definition of bleach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to remove color or stains from
2a : to make whiter or lighter especially by physical or chemical removal of color bleach clothing the sun had bleached her hair
b : to remove, make dull, or sanitize as if by removing color bleaches colonialism of its genocidal legacy— H. A. Giroux

intransitive verb

1 : to grow white or lose color
2 of coral : to expel symbiotic zooxanthellae exposing a white skeleton



Definition of bleach (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of bleaching
2 : a preparation used in bleaching
3 : the degree of whiteness obtained by bleaching

Other Words from bleach


bleachable \ ˈblē-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce bleach (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for bleach

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of bleach in a Sentence

Verb bones bleached white by the sun She bleached her hair blonde.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If that weren't devastating enough, ground-level smog, which contains high levels of ozone, can bleach our hair color, says Hammer. Jolene Edgar, Allure, 24 June 2022 The depot held clothing ready for export as well as drums filled with hydrogen peroxide, a chemical compound often used to bleach and dye fabric. New York Times, 7 June 2022 Benzoyl peroxide products should be used with caution as it is known to be a skin irritant when exposed to the skin for long periods of time and can bleach the hairline and clothes. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 All flours will bleach (i.e. lighten) over time with exposure to air. Carmen Collins, Country Living, 19 Apr. 2022 Spider mites suck the juices from leaf cells, causing leaves to bleach out. oregonlive, 13 Feb. 2022 For example, many people will bleach their skin in Jamaica and alter their appearance to look lighter. Stephanie Tharpe, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 Sharp also says to bleach any mildew because paint won't adhere properly to mildewed surfaces. Alicia Chilton, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Dec. 2021 Waxing to its First Quarter phase tonight, our satellite now becomes bright enough to begin to bleach the night sky. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 5 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Steer clear of ammonia, bleach, or cleaning products with solvents or caustics that could remove sealers. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Aug. 2022 The association is assembling goods including bleach, bottled water, shovels and cleaning supplies. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 1 Aug. 2022 Some whitening products to consider adding to your wash-day routine include oxygen bleach, Borax, or baking soda. Jolie Kerr, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 July 2022 To keep it in good condition, be sure not to use bleach, iron it, or dry clean it. Isabel Garcia,, 28 June 2022 Most of these brands make their tampons with organic cotton and without fragrances, dyes, and, in some cases, chlorine bleach. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 22 June 2022 An urge to make manifested itself through tie-dye, indigo dye, bleach, ómbre, and other hands-on fabric manipulations. Vogue, 25 May 2022 This shampoo is designed to fight against damage from color treatments, sun and UV rays, bleach, environmental pollution and other daily irritants. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 May 2022 Purchasing cleaning solutions free of chlorine bleach, ammonia, dyes, VOCs and harsh chemicals is not only better for your health, but also the water supply. Miriam Porter, House Beautiful, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of bleach


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


1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bleach


Middle English blechen, from Old English blǣcean; akin to Old English blāc pale; probably akin to Latin flagrare to burn — more at black entry 1

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Time Traveler for bleach

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bleach



bleached ginger

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Statistics for bleach

Last Updated

17 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bleach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bleach


\ ˈblēch How to pronounce bleach (audio) \
bleached; bleaching

Kids Definition of bleach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make white by removing the color or stains from



Kids Definition of bleach (Entry 2 of 2)

: a chemical used for bleaching

More from Merriam-Webster on bleach

Nglish: Translation of bleach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bleach for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bleach


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