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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English blenchen, from Old English blenċan ‎(to deceive, cheat), from Proto-Germanic *blankijaną ‎(to deceive), from Proto-Indo-European *bhleg- ‎(to burn, shine, scorch). Cognate with Icelandic blekkja ‎(to deceive, cheat, impose upon).[1]. Cognate with "blanch" ("to make white") through Proto-Indo-European.


blench ‎(third-person singular simple present blenches, present participle blenching, simple past and past participle blenched)

  1. (intransitive) To shrink; start back; give way; flinch; turn aside or fly off.
    • Bryant
      Blench not at thy chosen lot.
    • Jeffrey
      This painful, heroic task he undertook, and never blenched from its fulfillment.
    • 1998, Andrew Hurley (translator), Jorge Louis Borges, "Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrnth", Collected Fictions, Penguin Putnam, p.255
      "This," said Dunraven with a vast gesture that did not blench at the cloudy stars, and that took in the black moors, the sea, and a majestic, tumbledown edifice that looked like a stable fallen upon hard times, "is my ancestral land."
    • "Suddenly the great beast beat its hideous wings.... Again it leaped into the air, and then swiftly fell down upon Éowyn, shrieking, striking with beak and claw. Still she did not blench: maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings..." J. R. R. Tolkien
  2. (intransitive) (of the eye) To quail.
  3. (transitive) To deceive; cheat.
  4. (transitive) To draw back from; shrink; avoid; elude; deny, as from fear.
    • 2012, Jan 13, Polly Toynbee, Welfare cuts: Cameron's problem is that people are nicer than he thinks, The Guardian
      Yesterday the government proclaimed no turning back, but the lords representing the likes of the disability charity Scope or Macmillan Cancer Support should make them blench.
  5. (transitive) To hinder; obstruct; disconcert; foil.
  6. (intransitive) To fly off; to turn aside.
    • Shakespeare
      Though sometimes you do blench from this to that.


blench ‎(plural blenches)

  1. A deceit; a trick.
    • c. 1210, MS. Cotton Caligula A IX f.246.
      Feir weder turnedh ofte into reine; / An wunderliche hit makedh his blench.
  2. A sidelong glance.
    • Shakespeare
      These blenches gave my heart another youth.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French blanchir ‎(to bleach).


blench ‎(third-person singular simple present blenches, present participle blenching, simple past and past participle blenched)

  1. (obsolete) To blanch.
    • 1934, Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer, Harper Perennial (2005), p.283
      The seasons are come to a stagnant stop, the trees blench and wither, the wagons role in the mica ruts with slithering harplike thuds.
Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ blench in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913