black, blacken verbs.
Black is used when the meaning is to deliberately make something black, as in blacking one's face, one's shoes, a person's eye, etc., in the meaning to declare something ‘black’ (i.e. to boycott it), and in the phrasal verb to black out. Blacken is more often used to imply an unintentional or fortuitous process (the ceiling blackened with smoke); unlike black, it can be used intransitively (The sky blackened), and is more common as a participial adjective:

• Then you notice the blackened buildings, boarded up houses and the painted slogans in the housing estates —Woman's Own, 1977.

Blacken also has a special figurative use, ‘to besmirch or tarnish’, with reference to people's character, reputation, etc.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Blacken — Black en, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Blackened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Blackening}.] [See {Black}, a., and cf. {Black}, v. t. ] 1. To make or render black. [1913 Webster] While the long funerals blacken all the way. Pope. [1913 Webster] 2. To make dark; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • blacken — [v1] darken befoul, begrime, blot, cloud, deepen, ebonize, grow dark, grow dim, ink, make dark, shade, smudge, soil; concept 250 Ant. bleach, lighten, whiten blacken [v2] malign; smear asperse, attack, bad mouth*, blot, blotch, calumniate, decry …   New thesaurus

  • blacken — [blak′ən] vi. [ME blaknen < blak, BLACK] to become black or dark vt. 1. to make black; darken 2. to hurt or damage by slander, libel, etc. [to blacken a reputation] blackener n …   English World dictionary

  • Blacken — Black en, v. i. To grow black or dark. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • blacken — index brand (stigmatize), deface, defame, denigrate, denounce (condemn), derogate, disgrace …   Law dictionary

  • Blacken — Blacken, fjord i den vestlige del af den svenske sø Mälaren …   Danske encyklopædi

  • blacken — (v.) c.1200, become black or dark; early 14c., make black, darken, dye (hair); see BLACK (Cf. black) + EN (Cf. en) (1). Figurative sense of to besmirch (with dishonor, etc.) is from early 15c. Related: Blackened; blackening …   Etymology dictionary

  • blacken — ► VERB 1) become or make black or dark. 2) damage or destroy (someone s reputation) …   English terms dictionary

  • blacken — [[t]blæ̱kən[/t]] blackens, blackening, blackened 1) V ERG To blacken something means to make it black or very dark in colour. [V n] The married women of Shitamachi maintained the custom of blackening their teeth... You need to grill the tomatoes… …   English dictionary

  • blacken — UK [ˈblækən] / US verb [intransitive/transitive] Word forms blacken : present tense I/you/we/they blacken he/she/it blackens present participle blackening past tense blackened past participle blackened to become black, or to make something become …   English dictionary

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