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verb (used without object)
  1. to open and close the eye, especially involuntarily; wink rapidly and repeatedly.
  2. to look with winking or half-shut eyes: I blinked at the harsh morning light.
  3. to be startled, surprised, or dismayed (usually followed by at): She blinked at his sudden fury.
  4. to look evasively or with indifference; ignore (often followed by at): to blink at another's eccentricities.
  5. to shine unsteadily, dimly, or intermittently; twinkle: The light on the buoy blinked in the distance.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to open and close (the eye or eyes), usually rapidly and repeatedly; wink: She blinked her eyes in an effort to wake up.
  2. to cause (something) to blink: We blinked the flashlight frantically, but there was no response.
  3. to ignore deliberately; evade; shirk.
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  1. an act of blinking: The faithful blink of the lighthouse.
  2. a gleam; glimmer: There was not a blink of light anywhere.
  3. Chiefly Scot. a glance or glimpse.
  4. Meteorology.
    1. iceblink.
    2. snowblink.
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  1. on the blink, not in proper working order; in need of repair: The washing machine is on the blink again.
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Origin of blink

1250–1300; Middle English blinken (v.), variant of blenken to blench1; cognate with Dutch, German blinken

Synonyms for blink

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. See wink1. 8. overlook, disregard, avoid, condone. 9. wink, flicker, twinkle, flutter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for blink

flicker, sparkle, flash, flutter, squint, forget, bat, nictitate, shimmer, glimmer, scintillate, nictate, glitter, overpass, connive, bypass, discount, omit, slight, fail

Examples from the Web for blink

Contemporary Examples of blink

Historical Examples of blink

  • No sunlight ever made her blink, or screw her face into wrinkles.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Already a mood of much daylight was making him blink and shrink.

  • That tint is what we call the blink of open water, said Johnson.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • It was a hesitating face, which seemed to blink doubtfully in the daylight.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • It had lain so long in some darkened cellar that it seemed to blink in the candlelight.

British Dictionary definitions for blink


  1. to close and immediately reopen (the eyes or an eye), usually involuntarily
  2. (intr) to look with the eyes partially closed, as in strong sunlight
  3. to shine intermittently, as in signalling, or unsteadily
  4. (tr ; foll by away, from , etc) to clear the eyes of (dust, tears, etc)
  5. (when tr , usually foll by at) to be surprised or amazedhe blinked at the splendour of the ceremony
  6. (when intr , foll by at) to pretend not to know or see (a fault, injustice, etc)
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  1. the act or an instance of blinking
  2. a glance; glimpse
  3. short for iceblink (def. 1)
  4. on the blink slang not working properly
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Word Origin for blink

C14: variant of blench 1; related to Middle Dutch blinken to glitter, Danish blinke to wink, Swedish blinka
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

Word Origin and History for blink


1580s, perhaps from Middle Dutch blinken "to glitter," of uncertain origin, possibly, with German blinken "to gleam, sparkle, twinkle," from a nasalized form of base found in Old English blican "to shine, glitter" (see bleach (v.)).

Middle English had blynke (c.1300) in the sense "a brief gleam or spark," perhaps a variant of blench "to move suddenly or sharply; to raise one's eyelids" (c.1200), perhaps from the rare Old English blencan "deceive." Related: Blinked; blinking. The last, as a euphemism for a stronger word, is attested by 1914.

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1590s, "a glance;" see blink (v.). As is the case with the verb, there is a similar word in Middle English, in use from c.1300, that might represent a native form of the same root.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with blink


see on the blink.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.