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From Middle English whitenesse, whitnesse, whytnesse, hwitnesse, from Old English hwītnes (whiteness), equivalent to white +‎ -ness.


  • IPA(key): /ˈwaɪtnəs/, /ˈʍaɪtnəs/
  • (file)


whiteness (countable and uncountable, plural whitenesses)

  1. The state or quality of being white (all senses).
    • 1666, Robert Boyle, Origin of Forms and Qualities according to the Corpuscular Philosophy
      [Snow] may [] exchange its whiteness for yellowness, without losing its right to be called snow; []
    1. (sociology) The quality of being white (in the racial sense).
      • 2013, Shelley M. Park, Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood, page 42:
        As a white body, I have not had to face my whiteness; insofar as the world is oriented around whiteness, I rarely have to turn my attention back onto myself, as do the black and brown bodies that are “stopped” or “held up” for being out of place []
      • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:whiteness.


Derived terms[edit]