adjective, blank·er, blank·est.


verb (used with object)

Nearby words

  1. bland-allison act,
  2. blandish,
  3. blandishment,
  4. blandishments,
  5. blandly,
  6. blank cartridge,
  7. blank check,
  8. blank cheque,
  9. blank endorsement,
  10. blank shell


    draw a blank,
    1. to fail in an attempt; be unsuccessful: We've drawn a blank in the investigation.
    2. to fail to comprehend or be unable to recollect: He asked me their phone number and I drew a blank.

Origin of blank

1300–50; Middle English (noun and adj.) < Anglo-French, French blanc (adj.) < Germanic; compare Old English blanca white horse, Old High German blanch bright, white

1–4. See empty. 8. dumfounded, confused, astounded. 9. pure, simple, unadulterated; perfect, absolute, unqualified. 11. void, vacancy, emptiness; gap, lacuna, hiatus.

Related formsblank·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for draw a blank



(of a writing surface) bearing no marks; not written on
(of a form, etc) with spaces left for details to be filled in
without ornament or break; unrelieveda blank wall
not filled in; empty; voida blank space
exhibiting no interest or expressiona blank look
lacking understanding; confusedhe looked blank even after the explanations
absolute; completeblank rejection
devoid of ideas or inspirationhis mind went blank in the exam
unproductive; barren


an emptiness; void; blank space
an empty space for writing in, as on a printed form
a printed form containing such empty spaces
something characterized by incomprehension or mental confusionmy mind went a complete blank
a mark, often a dash, in place of a word, esp a taboo word
short for blank cartridge
a plate or plug used to seal an aperture
a piece of material prepared for stamping, punching, forging, etc
archery the white spot in the centre of a target
draw a blank
  1. to choose a lottery ticket that fails to win
  2. to get no results from something

verb (tr)

(usually foll by out) to cross out, blot, or obscure
slang to ignore or be unresponsive towards (someone)the crowd blanked her for the first four numbers
to forge, stamp, punch, or cut (a piece of material) in preparation for forging, die-stamping, or drawing operations
(often foll by off) to seal (an aperture) with a plate or plug
US and Canadian informal to prevent (an opponent) from scoring in a game
Derived Formsblankly, adverbblankness, noun

Word Origin for blank

C15: from Old French blanc white, of Germanic origin; related to Old English blanca a white horse

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 draw a blank
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with draw a blank

draw a blank

Fail to find or remember something, as in He looks familiar but I've drawn a blank on his name. This expression alludes to drawing a lottery ticket with nothing on it (so one cannot win a prize). [Early 1800s]


In addition to the idiom beginning with blank

  • blank check

also see:

  • draw a blank
  • fill in (the blanks)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.