[ blingk ]
/ blɪŋk /
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verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
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Idioms about blink

    on the blink, not in proper working order; in need of repair: The washing machine is on the blink again.

Origin of blink

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English blinken (verb), variant of blenken “to quail, shrink back, blench” (see blench1); cognate with Dutch, German blinken

synonym study for blink

1. See wink1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


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

How to use blink in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for blink

/ (blɪŋk) /


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

Other Idioms and Phrases with blink


see on the blink.

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