Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hwīt; akin to Old High German hwīz white and probably to Old Church Slavic světŭ light, Sanskrit śveta white, bright
Date: before 12th century
a. free from color
b. of the color of new snow or milk; specifically of the color white
c. light or pallid in color <white hair> <lips white with fear> d. lustrous pale gray ; silvery; also made of silver 2. a. being a member of a group or race characterized by light pigmentation of the skin b. of, relating to, characteristic of, or consisting of white people or their culture c. [from the former stereotypical association of good character with northern European descent] marked by upright fairness <that's mighty white of you> 3. free from spot or blemish: as a. (1) free from moral impurity ; innocent (2) marked by the wearing of white by the woman as a symbol of purity <a white wedding> b. unmarked by writing or printing c. not intended to cause harm <a white lie> <white magic> d. favorable, fortunate <one of the white days of his life — Sir Walter Scott> 4. a. wearing or habited in white b. marked by the presence of snow ; snowy <a white Christmas> 5. a. heated to the point of whiteness b. notably ardent ; passionate <white fury> 6. a. conservative or reactionary in political outlook and action b. instigated or carried out by reactionary forces as a counterrevolutionary measure <a white terror> 7. of, relating to, or constituting a musical tone quality characterized by a controlled pure sound, a lack of warmth and color, and a lack of resonance 8. consisting of a wide range of frequencies — used of light, sound, and electromagnetic radiation • whitish adjective II. noun Date: before 12th century 1. the achromatic object color of greatest lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that reflect diffusely nearly all incident energy throughout the visible spectrum 2. a. a white or light-colored part of something: as (1) a mass of albuminous material surrounding the yolk of an egg (2) the white part of the eyeball (3) the light-colored pieces in a 2-player board game; also the player by whom these are played (4) the area of a page unmarked by writing, printing, or illustration b. (1) archaic a white target (2) the fifth or outermost circle of an archery target; also a shot that hits it 3. one that is or approaches white in color: as a. white clothing — often used in plural b. white wine c. a white mammal (as a horse or a hog) d. (1) a white-colored product (as flour, pins, or sugar) — usually used in plural (2) any of numerous butterflies (subfamily Pierinae of the family Pieridae) that usually have the ground color of the wings white and are related to the sulphur butterflies e. plural teeth — used in the phrase pearly whites 4. plural leukorrhea 5. a person belonging to a light-skinned race 6. often capitalized a member of a conservative or reactionary political group III. transitive verb (whited; whiting) Etymology: Middle English, from white, adjective Date: before 12th century archaic whiten
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.