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[blingk] /blɪŋk/
verb (used without object)
to open and close the eye, especially involuntarily; wink rapidly and repeatedly.
to look with winking or half-shut eyes:
I blinked at the harsh morning light.
to be startled, surprised, or dismayed (usually followed by at):
She blinked at his sudden fury.
to look evasively or with indifference; ignore (often followed by at):
to blink at another's eccentricities.
to shine unsteadily, dimly, or intermittently; twinkle:
The light on the buoy blinked in the distance.
verb (used with object)
to open and close (the eye or eyes), usually rapidly and repeatedly; wink:
She blinked her eyes in an effort to wake up.
to cause (something) to blink:
We blinked the flashlight frantically, but there was no response.
to ignore deliberately; evade; shirk.
an act of blinking:
The faithful blink of the lighthouse.
a gleam; glimmer:
There was not a blink of light anywhere.
Chiefly Scot. a glance or glimpse.
  1. iceblink.
  2. snowblink.
on the blink, not in proper working order; in need of repair:
The washing machine is on the blink again.
Origin of blink
1250-1300; Middle English blinken (v.), variant of blenken to blench1; cognate with Dutch, German blinken
1. See wink1 . 8. overlook, disregard, avoid, condone. 9. wink, flicker, twinkle, flutter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for blink
  • After a blink or two of surprise, an observer notices that the hunter is urinating on the ground.
  • In a blink of the eye, this show is over before it can even get started.
  • The whole process takes about a tenth of a second, faster than the blink of an eye.
  • Or, the converse--if you've had something on this list mowed down in the blink of an eye--tell us about that, too.
  • Then he turned his wonderful countenance to the sun without a blink of the eyelids, and began to talk.
  • And they will decide in the blink of an eye whether or not to try to be funny.
  • It's only a few years--but as every parent knows, those first years with your children are precious and go by in a blink.
  • Quick as a blink, coral reef fish can become frightening or beguiling.
  • Fast exposures can freeze actions that happen in the blink of an eye.
  • In the blink of this horse's eye, the blue sky becomes a counterpoint to its stare.
British Dictionary definitions for blink


to close and immediately reopen (the eyes or an eye), usually involuntarily
(intransitive) to look with the eyes partially closed, as in strong sunlight
to shine intermittently, as in signalling, or unsteadily
(transitive; foll by away, from, etc) to clear the eyes of (dust, tears, etc)
when tr, usually foll by at. to be surprised or amazed: he blinked at the splendour of the ceremony
when intr, foll by at. to pretend not to know or see (a fault, injustice, etc)
the act or an instance of blinking
a glance; glimpse
short for iceblink (sense 1)
(slang) on the blink, not working properly
Word Origin
C14: variant of blench1; 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
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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.


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for blink



To blink one's eyes in a face-to-face confrontation, a sign of weakness; back down: NBC Entertainment President thinks ABC has blinked (mid1980s+)

Related Terms

on the blink

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with blink


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