Definition of blank in English:

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Pronunciation: /blaNGk/


1(Of a surface or background) unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain: the blank skyline a blank wall
More example sentences
  • He would roam the streets looking for nice blank surfaces to paint the letter of the day on.
  • The blank background beautifully reflects the tonal differences, conjuring up the stark light of the Mediterranean and the murky tones of America.
  • In both photographs the inanimate face is shown in three-quarter profile facing right against a blank background.
1.1Not written or printed on: a blank sheet of paper
More example sentences
  • The police brought him in, gave him a blank sheet to write down what he did the day before, and then released him.
  • I start with a blank sheet of paper and I just write a sentence.
  • The four-page statement was printed on blank paper.
empty, unmarked, unused, clear, free, bare, clean, plain
1.2(Of a document) with spaces left for a signature or details: blank tax-return forms
More example sentences
  • This word processor starts up in about three seconds on a decent system and takes about 5MB of memory for a blank document.
  • She had gotten back to the blank document she had started earlier.
  • Many travel documents in the existing Interpol database are blank passports stolen from consulates around the world.
1.3(Of a tape) with nothing recorded on it: blank cassettes
More example sentences
  • It turned out that the tape was blank and had not been used to record the conversation.
  • I record my favourite songs onto blank tapes to play in the car and I normally do them by mood or genre.
  • He caught up with me later in the afternoon and pressed a blank tape into my hand and bashfully asked if I could make him a copy of it.
2Showing incomprehension or no reaction: we were met by blank looks
More example sentences
  • Her face was blank; its lack of expression scared him.
  • Her first reaction was a blank look at the receptionist.
  • The actual reactions run the gamut from blank stares to gently-furrowed brows.
expressionless, deadpan, wooden, stony, impassive, unresponsive, poker-faced, vacuous, empty, glazed, fixed, lifeless, inscrutable
baffled, mystified, puzzled, perplexed, stumped, at a loss, stuck, bewildered, dumbfounded, nonplussed, bemused, lost, uncomprehending, at sea, confused
informal flummoxed, bamboozled
2.1Having temporarily no knowledge or understanding: her mind went blank
More example sentences
  • This caught her off guard, then her mind went temporarily blank.
  • Slight anger stirred inside my temporarily blank mind, what about me?
  • If you ask someone in attendance to recount these scenes you're likely to get a blank response and a claim of a lack of memory.
2.2Lacking incident or result: those blank moments aboard airplanes
More example sentences
  • Nobody had their putting stroke in the best mode, resulting in another blank day for the twos pool and another pot to carry forward to next week's outing.
3 [attributive] Complete; absolute (used emphatically with negative force): he was met with a blank refusal to discuss the issue
More example sentences
  • I don't believe that could happen today, one of my students sighed in blank refusal of this simple chain of reasoning.
  • What's interesting about the posts on the website is this blank refusal to accept the true nature of freedom of speech.
  • Those advisers who urged on him an expression of contrition as a way of finding closure met with a blank refusal.
outright, absolute, categorical, unqualified, complete, flat, straight, positive, certain, explicit, unequivocal, clear, clear-cut


1A space left to be filled in a document: leave blanks to type in the appropriate names this measure required subjects to fill in the blanks in a story
More example sentences
  • I'd been accumulating information and photographs, but when it came time to write it I knew I'd have to uncover more to fill in the blanks.
  • It had colloquial English phrases and you had to fill in the blanks.
  • This is your chance to fill in the blanks on a missive already written, then simply post it off to the public figure in question.
space, gap, blank space, empty space;
1.1A document with blank spaces to be filled.
Example sentences
  • In this country, town governments issue passports, so thieves frequently break into the town hall and steal blanks.
  • In addition to controlled storage, prescription blanks are serialized, and the dispersal of all prescription pads and storage destination is documented by pharmacy staff.
  • Prescription blanks must not be stored in patient examination rooms.
1.2A domino with one or both halves blank.
2 (also blank cartridge) A cartridge containing gunpowder but no bullet, used for training or as a signal.
Example sentences
  • She let the cartridges of blanks drop to the ground and reloaded with live fire.
  • The bullets were blanks in our desert, but the situations and attitudes of the soldiers we reported on were as real as they come.
  • No one on the firing squad knows whether their gun has a bullet or a blank.
3An empty space or period of time, especially in terms of a lack of knowledge or understanding: my mind was a total blank
More example sentences
  • So while Shakespeare's life is not a total blank, it does contain a lot of empty spaces.
  • He said all the drinks at the event had been free and believes their beers may have been spiked because of his total blank about the evening.
  • It's just a total blank, as though everyone had forgotten about that bit of the world.
4A roughly cut metal or wooden block intended for further shaping or finishing.
Example sentences
  • Worthing shaped the blank into a traditional British style and finished the wood with a hand-rubbed oil finish.
  • The hydroforming process forms a heated metal blank into a desired shape by means of hydraulic pressure.
  • Multidirectional core reduction techniques produced a wide variety of larger reduction flakes that formed blanks for small tools.
4.1A plain metal disk from which a coin is made by stamping a design on it.
Example sentences
  • The country's largest stainless steel making outfit, has bagged an order to supply coin blanks to the French national mint.
  • The Central Bank expects to sell them to the manufacturers of coin blanks in Europe.
  • You put the die on a coin blank and hit it with a big hammer to mould the impression into the metal.
5A dash written instead of a word or letter, especially instead of an obscenity or profanity.
Example sentences
  • But, more importantly, you'll find a blank for words that should not appear.
  • The way we would test them is we would sing it a few times and then leave something out - Astrolabe, Quadrant and blank blank blank will find a new blank to the East.
5.1Used euphemistically in place of a noun regarded as obscene, profane, or abusive.


[with object]
1Cover up, obscure, or cause to appear blank or empty: electronic countermeasures blanked out the radar signals
More example sentences
  • A lot of the text in the documents is blanked out, including, intriguingly, the distribution list!
  • Swear words were blanked out, but much more offensive racist remarks were left in.
  • The next three pages of that all-important document are completely blanked out.
1.1 [no object] Become blank or empty: the picture blanked out
More example sentences
  • Her mind blanked out and she felt lost as if in a dream.
  • He had written it on his calendar, in his planner and left a reminder on his cell phone and his mind still completely blanked out at remembering that piece of news.
  • I closed my eyes for a second, and as I tried to breath, my mind blanked out and my hands began to shake.
1.2Cut (a metal blank): the complete core disk can be blanked out in one piece
2North American informal Defeat (a sports opponent) without allowing the opposition to score: Baltimore blanked Toronto in a 7-0 victory
More example sentences
  • By blanking Chicago, it was the fourth consecutive shutout, a feat that had been accomplished in the American League by only the 1903 Indians and the 1932 Yankees.
  • Also in Division Two, FC Japan blanked Roosevelt Island International 4 -.
  • The Midget Raiders blanked the Eagles 43- last Saturday in Steinbach.



be firing (or shooting) blanks

informal (Of a man) be infertile.
Example sentences
  • Will my princess be disappointed when she discovers I am firing blanks?

draw a blank

Elicit no successful response; fail: the search drew a blank
More example sentences
  • Within days of his death, they went to the home of his widow and daughters to conduct an early-morning search, but drew a blank.
  • As their searches drew a blank, fears grew that she had been abducted, or even run away from the school party.
  • Many searches ultimately draw a blank, but people do turn up on occasion.



Pronunciation: /ˈblaNGknəs/
Example sentences
  • She searched his face, looking for any indication of his recognition, but still there was nothing but blankness.
  • The blankness of space was bombarded by a series of explosions coming from all directions.
  • He had experienced that blankness before.


Middle English (in the sense 'white, colorless'): from Old French blanc 'white', ultimately of Germanic origin.

  • blancmange from Late Middle English:

    In medieval times a blancmange was a dish of white meat or fish in a cream sauce—the ‘dessert’ sense seems to have come into use in the middle of the 16th century. The word is from Old French blanc mangier and literally means ‘white food’. Other words from French blanc include blanch (Middle English), blank (Middle English), and blanket (Middle English). Originally blanket referred to undyed (hence ‘white’) woollen cloth used for clothing. A dampened blanket would sometimes be used to extinguish a fire before going to bed. This is the origin of a wet blanket, a term for someone who spoils other people's fun by refusing to join in or by showing disapproval.

Words that rhyme with blank

ankh, bank, clank, crank, dank, drank, embank, flank, franc, frank, hank, lank, outflank, outrank, Planck, plank, point-blank, prank, rank, sank, shank, shrank, spank, stank, swank, tank, thank, yank

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: blank

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