Definition of white in English:

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Pronunciation: /(h)wīt/


1Of the color of milk or fresh snow, due to the reflection of most wavelengths of visible light; the opposite of black: a sheet of white paper
More example sentences
  • I smiled at my reflection and my pearly white teeth were visible and stood out from my tanned face.
  • Brighten up a plain white bathroom with these fresh colours from Dulux.
  • He was wearing a black jacket with white reflection marks, dark blue jeans and trainers.
colorless, unpigmented, bleached, natural;
snowy, milky, chalky, ivory
snowy, gray, silver, silvery, hoary, grizzled
1.1Approaching the color white; very pale: her face was white with fear
More example sentences
  • Cautiously, he rolled her over to find her face pale, deathly white, and covered with blood.
  • White scars stood prominently out against her tanned skin.
  • Kay's face turned pale white, so white that she looked like a ghost.
pale, pallid, wan, ashen, bloodless, waxen, chalky, pasty, washed out, drained, drawn, ghostly, deathly
1.2(Of a plant) having white flowers or pale-colored fruit.
Example sentences
  • Vegetation such as gorse, heather and white grass is considered to be high fire risk while grassland is low risk.
  • She leaned against one of the white cherry blossom trees and began to hum to herself.
  • Hanging in garlands on the sides of the tables, trees, and the fountain were white lilies.
1.3(Of a tree) having light-colored bark.
Example sentences
  • All trees between these white oaks and the grassy opening were under 36 years of age.
  • I sighed deeply and took a seat on the grass, bracing next to a tall white oak tree.
  • The fifth biggest tree in the east is the famous white oak at Wye Mills, Maryland.
1.4(Of wine) made from white grapes, or dark grapes with the skins removed, and having a yellowish color.
Example sentences
  • And what sauvignon blanc does for white wines, cabernet sauvignon can do for reds.
  • This is achieved by pressing the red grapes rapidly to produce white wine without a trace of colour.
  • It has become a bit famous in recent years for its white wines, especially chenin blanc.
1.5British (Of coffee or tea) served with milk or cream.
Example sentences
  • Just don't ask for a white coffee - you'll get condensed milk already in the cup, urgh.
  • We drank flat white coffees, and Ray noticed me looking at the blurry blue tattoo on his forearm.
  • She was still smiling when she carried the two white coffees up the rickety wooden stairs.
1.6(Of glass) transparent; colorless.
Example sentences
  • She offered you both hard candy from a white glass bowl and looked into your daughter's face.
  • A generous front in white glass curves out to form porches for the two main entrance doors.
  • In the middle there lay a small table, with a cloudy white glass sphere in the middle.
1.7(Of bread) made from a light-colored, sifted, or bleached flour.
Example sentences
  • His diet permitted no more white breads or dinner rolls, which was one of the hardest things for him to put aside.
  • Where do you find the best value baked beans, sausages, ketchup and white sliced bread?
  • The only rule here is that you absolutely cannot use plain white, sliced bread, which goes all pappy like a soggy sandwich.
2 (also White) Belonging to or denoting a human group having light-colored skin (chiefly used of peoples of European extraction): a white farming community
More example sentences
  • In the colonial context, the camera wielded by white Europeans was an intrusive weapon of domination.
  • Two of the survivors are white European and the rest are mainland Chinese nationals.
  • Most participants were white Europeans who were being treated by their general practitioner.
Caucasian, European
2.1Relating to white people: white Australian culture
More example sentences
  • Her literary debut, The Grass Is Singing, exposed the moral bankruptcy of the white settler culture.
  • Black nationalism was centered on blackness and saw no value in white culture and religion.
  • We black people like to think of ourselves as somehow outside of mainstream white culture.
3 historical Counterrevolutionary or reactionary. Contrasted with red (sense 2 of the adjective).


1White color or pigment: garnet-red flowers flecked with white the woodwork was an immaculate white
More example sentences
  • Instead they decided to defer the matter to give the park time to change the colour scheme to all white to make it look less conspicuous.
  • Shocking half-page pictures in colour and black and white underline the story throughout.
  • My husband said ‘no’ because we've got to stick to the club colours of black and white.
1.1White clothes or material: he was dressed from head to foot in white
More example sentences
  • Hundreds of people dressed in the traditional white with red scarves take part in each run.
  • She wore a newly fashioned gown of shimmering white, a delicate veil and a golden circlet.
  • Upon the terrace was a beautiful woman, garbed in a flowing silk gown of glowing white.
1.2 (whites) White clothes, especially as worn for playing tennis, or as naval uniform, or in the context of washing: wash whites separately
More example sentences
  • A daring university student dressed in cricket whites, pads and a helmet gave an innovative spin to the concept of pitch invasion.
  • The foundation provided him with new cricket whites, boots, gloves, pads, anew bat, a helmet, six balls and a cricket bag.
  • Americans, in fact, could have ended up staying in striped caps and cricket whites.
1.3White wine.
Example sentences
  • The main varietals in Chile are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for whites and Cabernet, Merlot and Carmenere for reds.
  • Semillon brings a lush texture to dry whites while Sauvignon Blanc brings an herbal raciness - a terrific combination.
  • This honeyed, concentrated, sweet and sour style white is perfect with this dish.
1.4 (White) The player of the white pieces in chess or checkers.
Example sentences
  • After this White's position is very bad because his pieces are so poorly placed for the middle-game.
1.5The white pieces in chess.
1.6A white thing, in particular the white ball (the cue ball) in billiards.
Example sentences
  • But a potted white by Perry let Ding back in and he cleared up to win.
1.7The outer part (white when cooked) that surrounds the yolk of an egg; the albumen.
Example sentences
  • Cook the eggs long enough to solidify the whites, but the yolks remain somewhat runny.
  • The whole thing is then cooked again to harden the whites around the yolk.
  • Crispy fried noodle threads and minced peppers add crunch; sieved egg yolks and whites add softness.
1.8White bread: tuna on white
2The visible pale part of the eyeball around the iris.
Example sentences
  • Viral conjunctivitis can spread to the cornea, the white of the eye.
  • The conjunctiva is a thin lining that covers the whites of the eyes and the insides of the eyelids.
  • His eyes, though still inhumanly brilliant, bore smaller irises and more pronounced whites - just like Arun's own.
3 (also White) A member of a light-skinned people, especially one of European extraction.
Example sentences
  • One audience member asked whether whites should go out of their way to develop black friends.
  • Unlike whites and members of other ethnic groups, blacks who live in the suburbs are far wealthier than their city brethren.
  • Wisdom teeth problems are more common among European whites compared to Orientals and blacks.
4 [with modifier] A white or cream butterfly that has dark veins or spots on the wings. It can be a serious crop pest.
  • Pieris and other genera, family Pieridae. See also cabbage white.


[with object] archaic
Paint or turn (something) white: your passion hath whited your face



whited sepulcher

literary A hypocrite.
With biblical allusion to Matt. 23:27
Example sentences
  • I wonder how He might fare today with His uncompromising stand on Hypocrites and whited sepulchres?
  • Our unusually tidy house is a sham, all deceiving beauty outside yet all corruption within, as a whited sepulchre, or market stall pear.
  • Keep up the good fight, and as to the whited sepulchres, keep giving it to them good and hard.

white man's burden

The task that white colonizers believed they had to impose their civilization on the black inhabitants of their colonies.
From Rudyard Kipling's The White Man's Burden (1899)
Example sentences
  • He blamed the white man who, in the name of civilization and ‘the white man's burden,’ impoverished many peoples in the world.
  • We will go out, we will pick up the white man's burden and we will colonise these areas that are not yet under our domination.
  • Even the neocons, for all their viciousness and totalitarian gut instincts, sometimes show signs of taking their white man's burden seriously.

whiter than white

Extremely white.
Example sentences
  • He smiled, showing off two perfectly straight rows of clean whiter than white teeth.
  • The wall fronting Strand Street was gleaming whiter than white in the spring sunshine..
  • They are polishing the Santiago Bernabeu right now, scrubbing up the exterior to make it look whiter than white in this the centenary year.
3.1Morally beyond reproach.
Example sentences
  • If our glorious leaders want to be so righteous and take the stance they have then in my mind they should be above reproach themselves, whiter than white.
  • The conclusions they came to do not surprise me because this chief constable must be seen to be whiter than white with no black marks,’ he said.
  • He seems to believe they are whiter than white when it comes to sectarianism and criminality.

Phrasal verbs


white out

(Of vision) become impaired by exposure to sudden bright light.
Example sentences
  • My head had started to spin again, and my vision almost whited out.
  • He tried to raise his head, and his sight whited out entirely.
1.1(Of a person) lose color vision as a prelude to losing consciousness.
Example sentences
  • I bolted for the door and whited out as I hit the street.

white something out

1Obliterate a mistake with white correction fluid.
Example sentences
  • A teacher at the school took a copy of the New York ballot paper, photocopied it and whited out all the nominees names, putting school subjects in their place.
  • The governor's office had whited out the answers.
  • They should release the documents containing the allegations against him, with the sensitive bits whited out.
1.1Cover one’s face or facial blemishes completely with makeup.
2Impair someone’s vision with a sudden bright light.



Example sentences
  • A long, wide car has pulled up in the driveway, a face peering whitely from its passenger window.
  • You can see the Parthenon from anywhere in Athens, gleaming whitely on the Acropolis.
  • Its whitely gleaming limestone façade was smoothly intact, an awesome sight unseen since the dawn of recorded history.


Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)wīdiSH/
Example sentences
  • Add the prawn cutlets and toss until they are just sealed and turn a whitish pink colour.
  • Indonesians cultivate it as a garden vegetable and recognize numerous forms, including a large whitish one and smaller green ones.
  • Pseudopollen is a mealy material, usually whitish or yellowish in colour, which superficially resembles pollen.


Late Old English hwīt, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wit and German weiss, also to wheat.

  • The Old English word white, related to wheat, is used in many English phrases. A white elephant is a useless or unwanted possession, especially one that's expensive to maintain. The originals were real albino animals regarded as holy in some Asian countries, especially Siam (present-day Thailand). The story goes that it was the custom for a king of Siam to give one of these elephants to a courtier he particularly disliked: the unfortunate recipient could neither refuse the gift nor give it away later for fear of causing offence, and would end up financially ruined by the costs of looking after the animal. A whited sepulchre is a hypocrite. The phrase comes from Jesus's condemnation of the Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew: he likens them to whited sepulchres, or whitewashed tombs, ‘which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens' bones, and of all uncleanness’. The white heat of technology is a phrase usually credited to Harold Wilson. What he actually said in a 1963 speech was, ‘The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry.’ The white man's burden, the task of imposing Western civilization on the inhabitants of colonies, comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1899. Called ‘The White Man's Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands’, it urged the USA to take up the burden of empire following its acquisition of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. The festival Whit Sunday or Whitsuntide also comes from white. It is a reference to the white robes worn by early Christians who were baptized at this time. White feather (late 18th century) as a sign of cowardice refers to a white feather in the tail of a fighting cock, seen as a sign of bad breeding. White-knuckle ride [1970s] refers to the effect caused by gripping tightly to side rails of a fairground ride. See also blackmail, blue

Words that rhyme with white

affright, alight, alright, aright, bedight, bight, bite, blight, bright, byte, cite, dight, Dwight, excite, fight, flight, fright, goodnight, height, ignite, impolite, indict, indite, invite, kite, knight, light, lite, might, mite, night, nite, outfight, outright, plight, polite, quite, right, rite, sight, site, skintight, skite, sleight, slight, smite, Snow-white, spite, sprite, tight, tonight, trite, twite, underwrite, unite, uptight, wight, wright, write

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: white

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