Definition of whitewash in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A solution of lime and water or of whiting, size, and water, used for painting walls white.

    • ‘Many of the buildings are faced with light-hued stone or stucco daubed with whitewash, the doors and window frames of some painted blue-the color for good luck.’
    • ‘Casts of sports trophies, a toy train, a saw, a football and a cross are some of the items embedded in the work, all of them rendered fossil-like by the lime whitewash.’
    • ‘But no amount of whitewash and tarmac can hide Georgian society's deeper malaise.’
    • ‘The two main churches, the Nieuwe Kerk and the Oude Kerk, are serene oases of wood, brick and whitewash.’
    • ‘A health education program is needed that explains the dangers of asbestos exposure and warns about the use of asbestos-containing soils for whitewash.’
    • ‘Lime whitewashes are very alkaline and cause insecticides to become ineffective in controlling insects.’
    • ‘The morning the debate on Hutton was held, demonstrators dressed as judges threw whitewash at the gates of Blair's Number 10 Downing Street residence.’
    • ‘Chunks of whitewash were missing exposing the grey material underneath.’
    • ‘The whitewash walls were in good repair but the roof was mossy and many of the tiles were cracked or askew.’
    • ‘These wall paintings were executed sometime during the later sixteenth century and covered with whitewash (rather than sanded off) in the seventeenth century as tastes changed.’
    • ‘Wall paintings in particular, once so abundant, have succumbed to decay, destruction, or covering over with whitewash.’
    • ‘Light spattered down the steps like whitewash off a sloppy painter's brush, but the splashes caught no one.’
    • ‘Most Andalusian villages are white since whitewash covers the walls of the houses but only one itinerary in the region is called the Route of the White Villages.’
    • ‘All his polychromes were thought to have been lost or defaced, until some of them were accidentally found just two years ago, hidden under whitewash and plaster, by a German film team making a documentary on the writer.’
    • ‘Men dig the raw material in the mountains and transport it to their homes where women apply it to the house walls as whitewash.’
    • ‘In my own garden I have an old stone wall with remnants of whitewash that reflects the sunlight and heat in summer.’
    • ‘But Monty didn't stop his whitewash at the front door.’
    • ‘They were of an older stile, bricks and mortar peeping out from behind chipped whitewash.’
    • ‘The saddlebags had been brought from the stables and rested on a wooden bench near the washstand, already patterned with chips of whitewash flaking from the walls.’
    • ‘Never mix insecticides in ordinary lime whitewash.’
    1. 1.1[in singular]A deliberate attempt to conceal unpleasant or incriminating facts about a person or organization in order to protect their reputation.
      ‘the opposition called the report ‘a whitewash’’
      • ‘Both agree the report was essentially a whitewash.’
      • ‘As the hearing opened, there was further evidence of a whitewash to protect more senior officers.’
      • ‘So this limpid, adorable film is also a tough, matter-of-fact portrait of the everyday, not a sentimental, redemptive whitewash.’
      • ‘They were accused of a whitewash, and the voters expressed their contempt at the ballot box.’
      • ‘For starters, van Buitenen wants to make sure there is no whitewash of the corruption cases he exposed in 1999.’
      • ‘Those who brand the Butler report a whitewash are talking nonsense to further their own political ends.’
      • ‘Michelle thinks the report is a whitewash, and I haven't read it in enough detail to disagree.’
      • ‘In other words, the media report is a classic whitewash.’
      • ‘The University's first response to the allegations back in 2002, under the previous Vice Chancellor, was largely a whitewash relying on a report from the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.’
      • ‘The ‘review’ is certain to be another whitewash.’
      • ‘‘The families feel we are the victims of a whitewash and a cover-up in order to protect careers of certain individuals,’ he added.’
      • ‘The president of Rats campaign group, Paul Dainton, welcomed the reports but said they were something of a whitewash.’
      • ‘But there was a growing backlash from supporters of the BBC who claimed Lord Hutton's report had been a whitewash.’
      • ‘There are a lot of people saying this was a whitewash designed to protect them in an election year.’
      • ‘Months later, in October 2002, the committee's Certain Maritime Incident report produced a whitewash.’
      • ‘This journalist unhesitatingly labels the report a whitewash.’
      • ‘At the time, Elisse Hategan, a prominent defector from the Heritage Front, slammed the report as a whitewash.’
      • ‘The obituary was the usual nostalgic whitewash.’
      • ‘Graham, Goss and Shelby all defended Snider, with Shelby declaring he is ‘not going to be associated with any whitewash.’’
      • ‘We look forward to its conclusions, and trust that it will not be another socialist whitewash of the existing failed policy.’
      cover-up, -gate, camouflage, disguise, mask, concealment, suppression, deception, false front, facade, veneer, pretext
      View synonyms
  • 2informal A victory by the same side in every game of a series.

    ‘the Lions went downhill to a 4–0 whitewash’
    • ‘Sri Lanka had their eyes on a series whitewash long before Marvan Atapattu called his players in with the Sri Lankan score on 375 for 7.’
    • ‘Doherty had to produce a performance akin to his 8-0 session whitewash of John Higgins earlier in the tournament if he was to have a chance of achieving one of the greatest comebacks in Crucible history.’
    • ‘It was left to Vaughan and Andrew Strauss to calmly complete the victory by adding the 46 runs required to complete victory and keep England on course for a series whitewash.’
    • ‘However 28-year-old Duggleby had to work a little harder in the 6-0 whitewash of Northumberland when it took a last hole win to see off the challenge of Julie Ross.’
    • ‘He was not a patch on the hitherto unsung Michael Kasprowicz, who bowled with fire, bounce and zest during Australia's 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘Ronnie O'Sullivan admitted he had not scaled the heights against Alan McManus despite claiming a 6 - whitewash.’
    • ‘The only better run is by West Indies, who won ten successive Tests against England in the course of consecutive series whitewashes in 1984 and 1985-86.’
    • ‘Roland Garros has not seen a player so dominant in a women's final since Steffi Graf's whitewash of Natalia Zvereva in 1988.’
    • ‘Zimbabwe won the third one-day international in succession against Bangladesh yesterday for a 3-0 whitewash in the series.’
    • ‘Even within the 3 - whitewash in Australia, there were glimpses after Perth that this Pakistan is not as ready to roll over as previous sides.’
    • ‘Jack's, always near the top of the table, finished the season in third place after a 10-0 whitewash of Tippy's 2.’
    • ‘Bubwith's Cliff Harrison and Jill Schofield were the top performers in both matches, including two whitewashes in their match against York, to end the night with 33 games.’
    • ‘But while the Springboks' stock has steadily risen since RWC'03, the Wallabies have been going in the opposite direction after suffering a Tri Nations whitewash for the first time.’
    • ‘Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath had predicted a 5 - whitewash before the first test.’
    • ‘At stake for them was avoiding a series whitewash and getting a record winning chase total.’
    • ‘With the Test series fast approaching, Fleming will be hoping for similar hands from the rest of his batsmen to prevent yet another whitewash at the hands of Pakistan.’
    • ‘In the arena of real sport though, Michael Vaughan and the England boys cruised to a whitewash 3-0 series victory over New Zealand.’
    • ‘With the Frank Worrell Trophy in the bag, a series whitewash is looming large against a team that fielded only three frontline bowlers in Trinidad and has seemingly abandoned the art of wicket-taking.’
    • ‘This followed earlier whitewashes of Heworth and Bootham, the other two teams in the league.’
    • ‘South Africa avoided a series whitewash with a 65-run win over Australia in the rain affected final limited overs cricket international at Newlands here yesterday.’


  • 1Paint (a wall, building, or room) with whitewash.

    ‘a suntrap surrounded by trees and whitewashed walls’
    • ‘The residents were directed to whitewash houses, clean backyards and houses, fence wells and clean latrines twice a day, within 24 hours.’
    • ‘How dare the new owners cut down those old fruit trees, not whitewash the walls, and put in those ugly blue tiles!’
    • ‘The walls were whitewashed, sporting a band of azure as trim, and the floors were carpeted with a matching blue color.’
    • ‘Instead it whitewashed the interior walls and invited passers-by to write messages on them with felt-tip pens.’
    • ‘Worse still, the walls are whitewashed haphazardly; the windows have the slightest bit of lint on them, and the room's smaller than a handkerchief.’
    • ‘The spacious area was surrounded with lofty walls, whitewashed and cleansed thoroughly, topped with black curved tiles like a sort of roofing.’
    • ‘The few other streets wandered pleasantly past whitewashed buildings, the door frames painted blue or green or purple or red.’
    • ‘When the show's over, this and the three other smaller wall works will be whitewashed.’
    • ‘Robert Dunne and Jonathan Carney were given €25 each for whitewashing an outside wall and painting a corridor.’
    • ‘Now, people also take care that they don't damage inscriptions, mainly during temple renovations and while whitewashing the temple walls.’
    • ‘The walls had been whitewashed once, but now they were quite filthy.’
    • ‘The walls should be whitewashed and all swept down and a few stones of lime slacked in every loose box and spread all over the shippon floor.’
    • ‘In Italy, minding a friend's house, we managed to flood it, and spent much of our stay whitewashing walls which looked as if they'd been stained with nicotine.’
    • ‘Even in smaller houses, plaster was applied to finish interior walls and then whitewashed, painted or easily covered with wallpaper.’
    • ‘In subsequent days he continued to paint and whitewash the farm buildings, contributing to a more prosperous appearance for the new farm as a whole and creating marital harmony in the bargain.’
    • ‘If the basket will be painted, pickled, whitewashed or glazed, do so prior to lining, and let it dry thoroughly.’
    • ‘The high ceiling and the upper walls were plastered and whitewashed, a brilliant white in the illumination from skylights.’
    • ‘The Shakers initially whitewashed the plaster walls and painted the interior woodwork.’
    • ‘His walls had been whitewashed and so the whole place seemed clean and fresh.’
    • ‘The Americans whitewashed the walls to cover the burns, and it has since been called the White House.’
    1. 1.1Deliberately attempt to conceal unpleasant or incriminating facts about (a person or organization)
      ‘his wife must have wanted to whitewash his reputation’
      • ‘His arrogance and attempts to whitewash the criminal activity of this government exacerbate the problem of terrorism and puts Australia at greater risk of retaliation.’
      • ‘Such frankness contrasts with a widespread tendency in the past in the U.S. press and among establishment-oriented writers to whitewash Western client regimes.’
      • ‘Both the government and opposition are now engaged in attempting to whitewash the military.’
      • ‘In other words, the problem was that the election process was so tainted that it feared its attempts to whitewash the poll would be rapidly exposed.’
      • ‘Writers who whitewash the facts in order to present their side of a story don't do anyone any good, least of all their own followers.’
      • ‘Steve Friend told the Comet he believes local Tories are trying to turn the issue into a vote winner by whitewashing over the facts regarding the development.’
      • ‘Granted, he does whitewash the bad guys to a point where a fine actor like Meat Loaf Aday is left with little to be play but straight evil guy next door.’
      • ‘It would be wrong, however, to whitewash him as the last of the old-school, voluntarily resigning statesmen.’
      • ‘Both inquiries are intended to whitewash this fact.’
      • ‘The heroes are mostly whitewashed and predictable.’
      • ‘As Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch says, ‘Instead of whitewashing the facts, the Pentagon needs to come clean about the army's use of cluster munitions.’’
      • ‘Frohnmayer attempted to whitewash his hapless record; at least Alexander is more self-critical.’
      • ‘Retrospective media coverage has whitewashed King while ignoring how his messages are radical challenges to the status quo of today.’
      • ‘Recently, however, efforts have been made, not to whitewash James, but at least to take a more balanced look at his character.’
      • ‘They are the outcome of an attempt to whitewash the Romans in order to make the new covenant faith more acceptable to gentiles.’
      • ‘Let's hope the bill is not merely an attempt to whitewash over people's fears about education in this increasingly difficult time.’
      • ‘He was deeply involved in the attempt to whitewash and cover up the My Lai massacre.’
      • ‘This too me seems to be a lame excuse and the article an attempt to whitewash the failings of the Congress government.’
      • ‘The commission, despite its attempts to whitewash the government, was compelled to admit that slavery existed.’
      • ‘In an effort to shore up his position the chief is attempting to enlist the support of the NAACP and other middle class religious and community organizations to whitewash the killings.’
      cover up, sweep under the carpet, hush up, suppress, draw a veil over, pull a veil over, conceal, camouflage, keep secret, keep dark, cloak, screen, veil, obscure
      gloss over, deal rapidly with, downplay, make light of, soft-pedal, minimize, de-emphasize, treat as unimportant
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Defeat (an opponent) in every game of a series.

    ‘Ireland were whitewashed 5-0’
    • ‘Scarborough claimed the North Eastern Ladies League after whitewashing York in the title decider 99-64 to collect all ten points at stake.’
    • ‘Cheshire overpowered North Wales 13-5 at Vicars Cross after whitewashing them 6-0 in the foursomes.’
    • ‘And what about his Yankees, whitewashed by a wild-card team that won only 19 of its final 50 games in the regular season?’
    • ‘Elsewhere in Division Two, the Lothersdale ‘B’ stunned Embassy Ambassadors ‘C’ by whitewashing their hosts.’
    • ‘Swiss challengers Alinghi became the first European team to win the America's Cup after whitewashing Team New Zealand 5-0 in the best-of-nine series.’
    • ‘South Africa were in the process of being whitewashed by Australia anyway, but once the selection was made they rolled over to have their tummies tickled.’
    • ‘In the other fixture S&R Vikings put in a tremendous effort to whitewash Neata Glass Scorpions, taking the honours with 9 -.’
    • ‘The Kitwe giants whitewashed Chambishi 41-0 in an earlier fixture.’
    • ‘This record allowed New Zealand to win the Tri-Nations, retain the Bledisloe Cup, whitewash the British and Irish Lions, and gain their ‘Grand Slam’.’
    • ‘After whitewashing Khan 9-0 in the first game, Quibell dropped the second in a tiebreaker and the third by a one-sided 9-2.’
    • ‘New Zealand, who had been whitewashed in the three-match Test series by England, salvaged some pride by beating West Indies in the triangular one-day series final at Lord's.’
    • ‘The Astros were shutout four times during this period and have been whitewashed a total of five times with Roger on the mound.’
    • ‘Not all hope should be lost after your Eagles get whitewashed by the Patriots.’
    • ‘They pulled off a magnificent triple by whitewashing Leeds Metropolitan University, Menwith Hill and Leeds 3-0.’
    • ‘Although the paceman captured 11 wickets in the first two Tests, Pakistan was whitewashed 3-0 in the series.’
    • ‘The third and final Test starts on January 2 and the South Africans will face an uphill struggle to prevent being whitewashed in the series, the source said.’
    • ‘Last summer, West Indies slumped to their first series defeat against England for 31 years and were then whitewashed 5-0 in Australia.’
    • ‘Our girls got off to a great start and threatened to whitewash their opponents in the first half.’
    • ‘Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has maintained that his team will not take West Indies lightly in spite of whitewashing them in the one-dayers.’
    • ‘Only 72 hours after pouring six goals on Ecuador, Argentina was whitewashed by a stubborn Mexican defense, despite dominating play.’