Against a blue background the white fairytale castle logo of Walt Disney Pictures. The castle is bleached out by a white flash, and an arc of light encircles it. (source)

This is a line from a YouTube video. From a Free Dictionary page, "bleach out" seems to mean "remove a stain." But this definition doesn't seem to apply here. There is no bleaching in the video. And the white flash simply travels above the castle, not bleaching it. What does "bleach out" mean in this context? Or is it possible YouTube's automatically generated subtitles have made a mistake, and it is a different verb in the video?

2 Answers 2


The closed-caption content is a good word-for-word representation of the clip's narration.  "Bleached out" is the phrasing used in the video. 

No, the white flash in question doesn't travel above the castle.  The name "Walt Disney" appears in a flash -- a quickly spreading and fading wash of whiteness that hides most of the castle before it vanishes.  The effect is that the flash temporarily removes color. 

The phrasing "bleached out" does seem a little strange here, since the loss of color is temporary.  We usually think of bleaching as a permanent effect.  Still, the basic meaning of color being removed does apply. 

What you see at the leading edge of the arc is less a flash than a sparkle or a twinkle.  It's a bit of light that's too small to affect most of the picture.  The flash, on the other hand, does affect most of the screen. 


When you bleach something, you put bleach on that thing. Bleach is used to remove stains, to whiten things. In that sense, the castle is briefly removed, or hidden, by the white flash.

By the way, the flash refers to the flash that introduces the Walt Disney logo, not the little comet that arches over the castle.

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