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[blak-uh n-hwahyt, -wahyt] /ˈblæk ənˈʰwaɪt, -ˈwaɪt/
displaying only black and white tones; without color, as a picture or chart:
a black-and-white photograph.
partly black and partly white; made up of separate areas or design elements of black and white:
black-and-white shoes.
of, relating to, or constituting a two-valued system, as of logic or morality; absolute:
To those who think in black-and-white terms, a person must be either entirely good or entirely bad.
Origin of black-and-white
First recorded in 1590-1600

black and white

black (def 33). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for black-and-white
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was black-and-white paint on his body; the stripes of the Koshare do not come off easily.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • He's head and shoulders above the ruck of black-and-white artists.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport Robert Neilson Stephens
  • One of the ladies, dressed in black-and-white check, was immensely stout.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • She had taken over some of his black-and-white work herself.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • The black-and-white hall was empty and everything was perfectly still.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for black-and-white


  1. a photograph, picture, sketch, etc, in black, white, and shades of grey rather than in colour
  2. (as modifier): black-and-white film
the neutral tones of black, white, and intermediate shades of grey Compare colour (sense 2)
in black and white
  1. in print or writing
  2. in extremes: he always saw things in black and white
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for black-and-white
noun's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Slang definitions & phrases for black-and-white

black and white

noun phrase

  1. A capsule of an amphetamine and a sedative, or of two amphetamines (1970s+ Narcotics)
  2. A police car: Hanger was patrolling Interstate 35 in his black-and-white (1960s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with black-and-white

black and white

A monochromatic picture, drawing, television image, computer monitor, or film, as opposed to one using many colors, as in Photos in black and white fade less than those taken with color film. [ Late 1800s ]
Also,black or white. Involving a very clear distinction, without any gradations. For example, He tended to view everything as a black and white issue—it was either right or wrong—whereas his partner always found gray areas. This usage is based on the association of black with evil and white with virtue, which dates back at least 2,000 years. [ Early 1800s ]
Also see: gray area
in black and white. Written down or in print, and therefore official. For example, The terms of our agreement were spelled out in black and white, so there should be no question about it. This term alludes to black ink or print on white paper. Shakespeare used it in Much Ado about Nothing (5:1). [ Late 1500s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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