Etymology
Advertisement
white noise (n.)
"sound made up of a random mixture of frequencies and intensities," by 1970, from white (adj.) + noise (n.).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
noise (v.)

late 14c., noisen, "to praise; to talk loudly about, spread by rumor or report," from noise (n.) or from Old French noisier, from the noun in French. Related: Noised; noising.

Related entries & more 
noise (n.)

c. 1200, "sound of a musical instrument;" mid-13c., "loud speech, outcry, clamor, shouting;" c. 1300, "a sound of any kind from any source," especially a loud and disagreeable sound, from Old French noise "din, disturbance, uproar, brawl" (11c., in modern French only in phrase chercher noise "to pick a quarrel"), also "rumor, report, news," a word of uncertain origin, replacing Replaced native gedyn (see din).

According to some, it is from Latin nausea "disgust, annoyance, discomfort," literally "seasickness" (see nausea). According to others, it is from Latin noxia "hurting, injury, damage." OED considers that "the sense of the word is against both suggestions," but nausea could have developed a sense in Vulgar Latin of "unpleasant situation, noise, quarrel" (compare Old Provençal nauza "noise, quarrel"). Confusion with annoy, noisome, and other similar words seems to have occurred.

From c. 1300 as "a disturbance; report, rumor, scandal." In Middle English sometimes also "a pleasant sound." In 16c.-17c. "a band or company of musicians." Noises off, as a stage instruction in theater, "sound effects, usually loud and confused, made off stage but to be heard by the audience as part of the play," is by 1908.

Related entries & more 
white (n.)

Old English hwit "whiteness, white food, white of an egg," from white (adj.). Also in late Old English "a highly luminous color devoid of chroma." Meaning "white part of the eyeball" is from c. 1400. Meaning "white man, person of a race distinguished by light complexion" is from 1670s; white man in this sense is from 1690s. White man's burden is from Kipling's 1899 poem:

Take up the White Man's burden—
The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Related entries & more 
white (adj.)

Old English hwit "bright, radiant; clear, fair," also as a noun (see separate entry), from Proto-Germanic *hweit- (source also of Old Saxon and Old Frisian hwit, Old Norse hvitr, Dutch wit, Old High German hwiz, German weiß, Gothic hveits), from PIE *kweid-o-, suffixed form of root *kweit- "white; to shine" (source also of Sanskrit svetah "white;" Old Church Slavonic sviteti "to shine," svetu "light;" Lithuanian šviesti "to shine," švaityti "to brighten").

As a surname, originally with reference to fair hair or complexion, it is one of the oldest in English, being well-established before the Conquest. Meaning "morally pure" was in Old English. Association with royalist causes is late 18c. Slang sense of "honorable, fair" is 1877, American English; in Middle English it meant "gracious, friendly, favorable." The racial sense "of those races (chiefly European or of European extraction) characterized by light complexion" is recorded from c. 1600; meaning "characteristic of or pertaining to white people" is from 1852, American English. White supremacy attested from 1868, American English [John H. Van Evrie, M.D., "White Supremacy and Negro Subordination," New York, 1868]; white flight is from 1966, American English.

White way "brightly illuminated street in a big city" is from 1908. White flag of truce or surrender is from c. 1600. White lie is attested from 1741. White Christmas is attested from 1847. White House as the name of the U.S. presidential residence is recorded from 1811. White water "river rapids" is recorded from 1580s. White Russian "language of Byelorussia" is recorded from 1850; the mixed drink is from c. 1978. Astronomical white dwarf is from 1924. White witch, one who used the power for good, is from 1620s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
noise-maker (n.)

1810, "person or thing that makes noise," from noise (n.) + agent noun from make (v.). The verbal phrase make noise is from mid-13c., and noise-making is from early 15c.

Related entries & more 
white-out (n.)
1946 as an extreme snow condition on the U.S. prairie, from white as a verb + out (adv.). From 1977 as a liquid correction for paper.
Related entries & more 
white bread (n.)
c. 1300, as opposed to darker whole-grain type, from white (adj.) + bread (n.). Its popularity among middle-class America led to the slang adjectival sense of "conventional, bourgeois" (c. 1980). Old English had hwitehlaf.
Related entries & more 
white trash (n.)

1824, originally in African-American vernacular in the South.

The slaves themselves entertain the very highest contempt for white servants, whom they designate as 'poor white trash.' [Fanny Kemble, journal, Jan. 6, 1833]
[T]he term [poor white] is rather loosely applied by Northern writers even to mountaineers and to small farmers who live on a precarious footing. But in the Southern conception, not everyone who is both poor and white is a "poor white." To the Southerner, the "poor white" in the strictest sense is a being beyond the pale of even the most generous democratic recognition; in the negro's term, "po' white trash," or so much social débris. [Robert Penn Warren, "The Briar Patch," 1930, footnote]
Related entries & more 
lily-white (adj.)
early 14c., from lily + white (adj.); from 1903 with reference to whites-only segregation; 1961 as "irreproachable."
Related entries & more