Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A mixture of lime and water, often with whiting, size, or glue added, that is used to whiten walls, fences, or other structures.
  • n. Concealment or palliation of flaws or failures.
  • n. A defeat in a game in which the loser scores no points.
  • transitive v. To paint or coat with or as if with whitewash.
  • transitive v. To conceal or gloss over (wrongdoing, for example). See Synonyms at palliate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lime and water mixture for painting walls and fences bright white.
  • n. A complete victory or series of victories without suffering any losses; a clean sweep.
  • v. To paint over with a lime and water mixture so as to brighten up a wall or fence.
  • v. To cover over errors or bad actions.
  • v. To prevent a team from scoring any runs.
  • v. To choose white film or television actors to portray characters that were Asian, African, or other races.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any wash or liquid composition for whitening something, as a wash for making the skin fair.
  • n. A composition of line and water, or of whiting size, and water, or the like, used for whitening walls, ceilings, etc.; milk of lime.
  • n. a glossing over or cover up (of crimes or misfeasance).
  • transitive v. To apply a white liquid composition to; to whiten with whitewash.
  • transitive v. To make white; to give a fair external appearance to; to clear from imputations or disgrace; hence, to clear (a bankrupt) from obligation to pay debts.
  • transitive v. In various games, to defeat (an opponent) so that he fails to score, or to reach a certain point in the game; to skunk.
  • transitive v. to gloss over or cover up (crimes or misfeasance).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A wash or loose superficial deposit of white boulders and pebbles of quartz and sericite-schist which appears on the hillsides above the gold-bearing creeks of the Klondike and is itself auriferous. See the extract.
  • n. A wash or liquid composition for whitening something.
  • n. A composition of quicklime and water, or, for more careful work, of whiting, size, and water, used for whitening the plaster of walls, woodwork, etc., or as a freshening coating for any surface. It is not used for fine work.
  • n. False coloring, as of character, alleged services, etc.; the covering up of wrong-doing or defects: as, the investigating committee applied a thick coat of whitewash.
  • n. In base-ball and other games, a contest in which one side fails to score.
  • To cover with a white liquid composition, as with lime and water, etc.
  • To make white; give a fair external appearance to; attempt to clear from imputations; attempt to restore the reputation of.
  • To clear by a judicial process (an insolvent or bankrupt) of the debts he owes.
  • In base-ball, etc., to beat in a game in which the opponents fail to score.
  • To become coated with a white inflorescence, as some bricks.

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

  • v. exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data
  • v. cover with whitewash
  • n. wash consisting of lime and size in water; used for whitening walls and other surfaces
  • n. a specious or deceptive clearing that attempts to gloss over failings and defects
  • v. cover up a misdemeanor, fault, or error
  • n. a defeat in which the losing person or team fails to score

Etymologies

From white + wash (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I wish to protest against the careless use of the word whitewash which has crept into our latter-day demotic tongue.

    The Guardian World News

  • This effort is too sloppy really to merit the term whitewash: the sceptical graffiti are still clearly visible through the transparent white coating.

    Signs of the Times

  • BLAIR and that wretch CAMP HELL has blood on their hands, not to forget Dr. Kelly being hounded to his grave which is also suspicious. is this what they call a whitewash a total waste of money, there remit should be find out who lied and prosecute they have cost lives

    Evening Standard - Home

  • While it's still police investigating police, and a whitewash is possible, this is clearly a positive development.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • A: Many old wood barns and other buildings were whitewashed years ago, but whitewash is seldom used today because there are better, more convenient alternatives.

    No getting around it: Going from wallpaper to paint on drywall is a chore

  • The beds are made from polyethylene, nylon and steel, and are available in whitewash (shown) or java with a leatherette pad.

    The Operetta Pet Lounge by Kenneth Cobonpue

  • This attempted whitewash is another blow to the relationship between police and public which is essential for the only effective form of policing; “policing by consent.”

    CO19 - A Few Good Men « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • The advantages of whitewash is that it kills all the molds/germs/when it is applied, but it takes many years of application until it builds up a nice thick hide.

    House Project Update for 01 February 2003

  • In real terms, I think the disadvantage of whitewash is that for the first few years at least, it has to be painted every year - but then again it is very inexpensive and can be quickly and safely sprayed by semi-skilled labor.

    House Project Update for 01 February 2003

  • If it's being applied for protective, rather than strictly aesthetic considerations, the durability of whitewash is far more of a consideration than you make it out to be.

    House Project Update for 01 February 2003

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