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red ink

a financial deficit; business loss.
the condition of showing a business loss.
Origin of red ink
1925-30, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for red-ink
Historical Examples
  • Put up a map of the Midlands, with a red-ink line round every affiliated dept.

    The War-Workers E.M. Delafield
  • The place where young Lee missed your head with the red-ink bottle.

    The Right Stuff Ian Hay
  • As I carelessly turned over a leaf or two, I noticed that a red-ink line was drawn under some of the words.

    True to his Colours Theodore P. Wilson
  • Whereupon the lady secretary put a red-ink cross before Harmony's name.

    The Street of Seven Stars Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The red-ink note about the avenger of the tortoise is in a crude, large, clumsy, untaught style of writing.

    Martin Hewitt, Investigator Arthur Morrison
  • One kind was a red-ink seal, made with a hand stamp; the other a seal on blue paper, to be fastened on the article.

    The Story of American History Albert F. Blaisdell
  • Enough for Willem and me to buy all the red-ink lemonade and popcorn and peanuts and candy we can eat.

  • I thought; and I took it up and noticed the red-ink lines under so many of the verses.

    True to his Colours Theodore P. Wilson
  • But I draw a red-ink line between them and my friends in the true sense—my friends social and intellectual.

    The Confidence-Man Herman Melville
  • I don't think so, major—just wait a minute, I'll show you something worse than a red-ink crossbones and skull.

    The Sins of the Father Thomas Dixon
Word Origin and History for red-ink

red ink


"financial losses," 1929, from the red ink traditionally used to indicate debits in accounts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for red-ink

red ink

noun phrase

  1. Red wine, esp of an inferior sort: A pint of red ink still sells for two bits (1919+)
  2. Financial loss or losses: a flood of red ink totaling close to $80 billion (1929+)
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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