From Middle English whitenen, whitnen, from Old Norse hvítna (“to whiten”), from Proto-Germanic *hwītnōną (“to whiten, become white”), from Proto-Indo-European *kwind-, *kwint- (“bright”), equivalent to white + -en. Cognate with Icelandic hvítna (“to whiten”), Swedish vitna, hvitna (“to whiten”), Danish hvidne (“to whiten”). Compare Old English hwītian (“to whiten, become white, be white, make white”).
- Rhymes: -aɪtən
- (transitive) To make white or whiter; to bleach or blanch.
- (intransitive) To become white or whiter; to bleach or blanch.
- His hair had whitened with age.
- The trees in spring whiten with blossoms.
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