View synonyms for blackout


[ blak-out ]


  1. the extinguishing or concealment of all visible lights in a city, military post, etc., usually as a precaution against air raids.
  2. a period during a massive power failure when the lack of electricity for illumination results in utter darkness except from emergency sources, as candles.
  3. Theater.
    1. the extinguishing of all stage lights, as in closing a vaudeville skit or separating the scenes of a play.
    2. Also called blackout skit. a skit ending in a blackout.
  4. Pathology.
    1. temporary loss of consciousness or vision:

      She suffered a blackout from the blow on the head.

    2. a period of total memory loss, as one induced by an accident or prolonged alcoholic drinking:

      The patient cannot account for the bizarre things he did during his blackout.

  5. a brief, passing lapse of memory:

    An actor may have an occasional blackout and forget a line or two.

  6. complete stoppage of a communications medium, as by a strike, catastrophe, electrical storm, etc.: a radio blackout.

    a newspaper blackout;

    a radio blackout.

  7. a stoppage, suppression, or obliteration:

    a news blackout.

  8. a period during which a special sales offer, fare rate, or other bargain is not available:

    The airline's discount on fares does not apply during the Christmas week blackout.

  9. Radio and Television. a prohibition that is imposed on the broadcasting of an event and has the purpose of encouraging or ensuring ticket sales.


/ ˈblækaʊt /


  1. the extinguishing or hiding of all artificial light, esp in a city visible to an enemy attack from the air
  2. a momentary loss of consciousness, vision, or memory
  3. a temporary electrical power failure or cut
  4. electronics a temporary loss of sensitivity in a valve following a short strong pulse
  5. a temporary loss of radio communications between a spacecraft and earth, esp on re-entry into the earth's atmosphere
  6. the suspension of radio or television broadcasting, as by a strike or for political reasons


  1. tr to obliterate or extinguish (lights)
  2. tr to create a blackout in (a city etc)
  3. intr to lose vision, consciousness, or memory temporarily
  4. tr, adverb to stop (news, a television programme) from being released or broadcast


  1. The complete loss of electrical power in a particular area. Blackouts can result from a natural disaster, a manmade catastrophe, or simply from an excess of energy demand over supply. ( Compare brownout .)

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Rolling blackouts to match supply and demand have become increasingly common in the United States.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of blackout1

First recorded in 1910–15; noun use of verb phrase black out

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Example Sentences

Last year, when California’s utilities first began carrying out widespread blackouts like this, some homes and businesses were left in the dark for days.

From Fortune

In the past few years, India has imposed hundreds of internet blackouts in different parts of the country, sometimes just for hours, sometimes for months.

Home to over 12 million people, the region has suffered tremendously as a result—unemployment has spiked and over $1 billion in economic losses have been attributed to the blackout.

India has imposed hundreds of internet blackouts in different parts of the country over the past few years, including cutting off connectivity throughout the disputed state of Kashmir for six months.

Although dawn was yet to break, she immediately set to thinking about what a blackout would mean for her and her work.

And so as Friday dawned, the Great CBS Blackout of 2013 entered its eighth day.

The Great Blackout of 2011 gridlocked traffic, closed schools and canceled flights.

Well, he certainly wasn't much of a perceptive, or he would have been able to handle the Blackout himself.

My Blackout victim was reaching out, trying to find something he could use to raise himself to his feet.

I picked her up in my arms and carried her to the same sawdust-strewn private dining room where I'd given Barney the Blackout.

A Blackout is quite effective—it's hard to hit what you can't see.

But Barney, the stick-man who'd felt my Blackout, caught on a lot quicker.


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