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

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
blink (blɪŋk)
vb (when tr, usually foll by at) (when intr, foll by at)
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.  to be surprised or amazed: he blinked at the splendour of the ceremony
6.  to pretend not to know or see (a fault, injustice, etc)
7.  the act or an instance of blinking
8.  a glance; glimpse
9.  short for iceblink
10.  slang on the blink not working properly
[C14: variant of blench1; related to Middle Dutch blinken to glitter, Danish blinke to wink, Swedish blinka]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1580s, from M.Du. blinken "to glitter," of uncertain origin (possibly akin to bleach; cf. Ger. blinken "to gleam, sparkle, twinkle"). M.E. used blekne in this sense, related to blench (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see on the blink.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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
Or, the converse--if you've had something on this list mowed down in the blink
  of an eye--tell us about that, too.
Idioms & Phrases
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