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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).



whiten ‎(third-person singular simple present whitens, present participle whitening, simple past and past participle whitened)

  1. (transitive) To make white or whiter; to bleach or blanch.
  2. (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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