Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A polar weather condition caused by a heavy cloud cover over the snow, in which the light coming from above is approximately equal to the light reflected from below, and which is characterized by absence of shadow, invisibility of the horizon, and discernibility of only very dark objects.
  • noun A fluid, usually white, that dries quickly and is applied to printed matter to cover mistakes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a heavy snowstorm; a blizzard
  • noun an Arctic condition, caused by diffuse lighting, in which the horizon can not be distinguished and physical features are lost in the background
  • noun a white correcting fluid used to cover mistakes in typescript

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an arctic atmospheric condition with clouds over snow produce a uniform whiteness and objects are difficult to see; occurs when the light reflected off the snow equals the light coming through the clouds
  • verb cover up with a liquid correction fluid
  • verb lose daylight visibility in heavy fog, snow, or rain

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

white +‎ out

Examples

  • If you haven't already seen the movie, it will spoil nothing to tell you that the accident, discreetly shown as a "Six Feet Under" - style whiteout, is not fatal.

    September 2005

  • You know, Jacqui, when we hear of cases like this we always hear of that term whiteout conditions.

    CNN Transcript Feb 18, 2007

  • Bowman remembered a description he had once heard of the dreaded Antarctic "whiteout" - "like being inside a ping-pong ball."

    2001 A Space Odyssey

  • Stetko is suddenly involved in two races against time—first, she needs to solve the mystery before the transfer of personnel and she must solve it before a massive storm moves across the camp, resulting in a storm called a whiteout, where vision the hundred-mile-per-hour winds reduce vision to no more than six inches.

    Archive 2009-09-01

  • Stetko is suddenly involved in two races against time—first, she needs to solve the mystery before the transfer of personnel and she must solve it before a massive storm moves across the camp, resulting in a storm called a whiteout, where vision the hundred-mile-per-hour winds reduce vision to no more than six inches.

    Whiteout

  • We're talking about a complete whiteout, which is what we've been seeing from our live reports.

    CNN Transcript Feb 12, 2006

  • Nearly 2ft of snow fell on Washington today with President Barack Obama dubbing the whiteout 'Snowmageddon'.

    Prison Planet.com

  • Nearly 2ft of snow fell on Washington today with President Barack Obama dubbing the whiteout 'Snowmageddon'.

    Prison Planet.com

  • The pictures are of the base, during the summer (there's light outside...) not the winter and certainly not in the middle of a Phase III (can you say "whiteout" ?)

    Making Light: Snowpocalypse Part Next

  • After a sudden "whiteout" that cut visibility to zero, the group inadvertently splintered into three parts.

    'Miracle In The Mountains'

Comments

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  • Usually the result of a blizzard or blowing snow when the light is flat or diffuse, a condition in which the skier or climber is surrounded entirely by white--no horizon, no shapes, nothing. Can be quite terrifying.

    November 10, 2007