Blench vs blanch

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Blench and blanch are two words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation, with overlapping meanings. We will examine the definitions of blench and blanch, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Blench means to flinch, to shrink away because of fear or because of pain. Blench may also mean to become pale or to be drained of color. Blench is a verb, related words are blenches, blenched, blenching. The word blench is derived from the Old English word blencan, meaning deceive.

Blanch also means to become pale or to be drained of color, and less often, may be used to mean to shrink away. Blanch is also a cooking term, meaning to briefly immerse a food item in boiling water, then plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanch is a verb, related words are blanches, blanched, blanching. The word blanch is derived from the Old French word blanchir, meaning to whiten.


One man who would rightly blench if he were ever described as a national treasure is the incomparable Jonathan Meades, a one-man debunker of pomposity and cant. (The Guardian)

This blogger has been told by Asian diplomats that—for all that they blench when Mr Trump mocks the 34-year old Mr Kim as “Little Rocket Man” or boasts about the size of America’s nuclear button—they can see a value to challenging the North Koreans in the field of unpredictability, which the Stalinist state has had to itself for so long. (The Economist)

Plans for a pool and lazy river were shelved in 2011, when commissioners at that time blanched at the thought of paying up to $600,000 annually in operating expenses. (The Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Bourdain’s parents and brother blanched at the delicacy, while he reveled in appreciating something delicious, “vaguely sexual-looking” and complex that others could not understand. (The New York Times)