View synonyms for blink


[ blingk ]

  1. to close and reopen the eyes, especially involuntarily:

    Every time I blink, it makes the cut on my eyelid hurt.

  2. to look with half-shut eyes or rapidly closing and opening 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; flicker:

    The light on the buoy blinked in the distance.

  6. to yield or back down from a confrontation:

    All eyes are on the two nations' standoff, waiting to see who blinks.

  1. to close and reopen (the eye or eyes), usually rapidly, repeatedly, or involuntarily;

    She blinked her eyes in an effort to wake up.

  2. to cause (something) to twinkle or shine intermittently:

    We blinked the flashlight frantically, but there was no response.

  3. Rare. to ignore deliberately; evade; shirk:

    Although deaths continue to rise, the authorities have blinked the problem.

    Synonyms: condone, avoid, disregard, overlook

  1. an act or instance of closing and reopening the eyes, especially repeatedly or involuntarily:

    She claimed not to be startled, but her blink betrayed her.

  2. the act or condition of flickering, twinkling, or shining intermittently:

    The faithful blink of the lighthouse comforted the crew.

    Synonyms: flutter, twinkle, flicker, wink

  3. a gleam; glimmer:

    There was not a blink of light anywhere.

  4. Chiefly Scot. a glance or glimpse.
  5. Meteorology.


/ blɪŋk /

  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. whentr, usually foll by at to be surprised or amazed

    he blinked at the splendour of the ceremony

  6. whenintr, foll by at to pretend not to know or see (a fault, injustice, etc)

  1. the act or an instance of blinking
  2. a glance; glimpse
  3. short for iceblink
  4. on the blink slang.
    not working properly

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Word History and Origins

Origin of blink1

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English verb blincken, variant of blenchen, blenken “to quail, shrink back, blench” ( blench 1 ); cognate with Dutch, German blinken

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Word History and Origins

Origin of blink1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. on the blink, not in proper working order; in need of repair:

    The washing machine is on the blink again.

More idioms and phrases containing blink

see on the blink .

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Synonym Study

See wink 1.

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Example Sentences

It might be from watching your portfolio this year whipsaw from precipitous lows to glorious highs in what seemed like a blink.

From Fortune

The economic and social impact of the global pandemic has forced shopping habits to change in the blink of an eye.

In the blink of an eye, there’s all this innovation—from 2017, when I first took a look at this and couldn’t have imagined how it was possible, to now, where there’s this huge positive movement.

Legend held that the blink came from the lantern of an ill-fated mother searching for her son.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that things can change dramatically, in the blink of an eye.

From Fortune

Now it can happen in the blink of an eye—just look at former House majority leader Eric Cantor.

He was unable to speak, and the woman asked him to blink once for yes, twice for no in reply to some questions.

In the blink of an eye, the hipster has turned into a catch-all scapegoat, guilty for everything from expensive beer to bad music.

Technology that stealthily decimates in the blink of an eye, that is what is what Israel needs in the Twenty-First Century.

Efron, in a blink, went from shy concealment to peacock-ish display.

I had to blink hard two or three times before I could really make up my mind that the tip-toer was Maisie Ann.

Then, in the blink of an eye, Arcot was floating in the air before him.

Stevens' eyes blinked, and in that blink Ben charged, and as he moved, Murray and Tholfsen followed.

And it is this same white water which gives rise to the phenomenon above referred to, locally known as “Bank Blink.”

Behind it was a continuous ice-blink and on our left, to the north, a deep blue "water sky."


Related Words

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More About Blink

What does blink mean?

To blink is to open and close the eyes rapidly, usually involuntarily. A blink is the act of blinking.

To blink is also to shine unsteadily, as a light that is about to die might.

In a figurative sense, to blink means to be startled or dismayed, as in Carter blinked at all the money his business partner spent on traveling.

To blink can also mean to ignore or avoid something, as in Society will blink at rude behavior if the person being rude is powerful enough.

Example: Blink your eyes when you see the light flash.

Where does blink come from?

The first records of the term blink come from the mid-1200s. It comes from the Middle English blenken, meaning “to quail, shrink back, or flinch.”

Humans unconsciously blink their eyes a lot without realizing—up to 20 times a minute! Perhaps that frequency is why we have so many senses of the word blink. A blink can also be a gleam of light, as in The house was almost completely dark, with just a blink of light coming from the cellar. Blinkers can be flashing lights, such as turn signals in a car, or flaps on a bridle that prevent a horse from seeing sideways, effectively blinkering its vision. The phrase on the blink means “not working properly,” such as when you turn your computer on and nothing happens. And if anyone tells you not to blink or you’ll miss it, they mean that something is going to happen very quickly.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to blink?

What are some synonyms for blink?

What are some words that share a root or word element with blink

What are some words that often get used in discussing blink?

How is blink used in real life?

Blink is commonly used to refer to involuntarily closing your eyes.


Try using blink!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for blink?

A. flash
B. flicker
C. squint
D. attend

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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