Starch is the stuff that makes your shirt collar look crisp and fresh. It's also the complex carbohydrate that potatoes and rice — foods that are called starches — have lots of.

Starch can also be a verb. You can starch your shirt by adding starch, which is a white powder, to the rinse water. You can also get the kind of starch that comes as a spray, which you squirt on your shirt while you're ironing it. Cornstarch, which is also a white powder, is used to thicken sauces or make egg whites stand in stiff peaks when you beat them.

Definitions of starch
  1. noun
    a complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice; an important foodstuff and used otherwise especially in adhesives and as fillers and stiffeners for paper and textiles
    synonyms: amylum
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    starch resembling sago that is obtained from cuckoopint root
    cassava, cassava starch, manioc, manioca
    a starch made by leaching and drying the root of the cassava plant; the source of tapioca; a staple food in the tropics
    a nutritive starch obtained from the root of the arrowroot plant
    cornflour, cornstarch
    starch prepared from the grains of corn; used in cooking as a thickener
    powdery starch from certain sago palms; used in Asia as a food thickener and textile stiffener
    a non-nitrogenous food substance consisting chiefly of starch; any substance resembling starch
    Otaheite arrowroot, Otaheite arrowroot starch
    a starch obtained from the root of the pia
    pearl sago
    sago ground into small round grains
    type of:
    polyose, polysaccharide
    any of a class of carbohydrates whose molecules contain chains of monosaccharide molecules
  2. noun
    a commercial preparation of starch that is used to stiffen textile fabrics in laundering
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    type of:
    formulation, preparation
    a substance prepared according to a formula
  3. verb
    stiffen with starch
    starch clothes”
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    type of:
    make stiff or stiffer
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