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red ink

a financial deficit; business loss.
the condition of showing a business loss.
Origin of red ink
An Americanism dating back to 1925-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for red ink
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At the head of each page the name of the county is written in red ink.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • He had dipped the pen, as another moment showed, into red ink.

  • Instead of doing so, he sketched her face with black and red ink.

    The Nation in a Nutshell George Makepeace Towle
  • The year would be written in red ink at the top of the chart.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • Fill a glass with water and color it with a little blueing or red ink.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
Word Origin and History for red ink

"financial losses," 1929, from the red ink traditionally used to indicate debits in accounts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for red ink

red ink

noun phrase

  1. Red wine, esp of an inferior sort: A pint of red ink still sells for two bits (1919+)
  2. Financial loss or losses: a flood of red ink totaling close to $80 billion (1929+)
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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