Definition of blink in English:


Syllabification: blink
Pronunciation: /bliNGk


[no object]
  • 1Shut and open the eyes quickly: she blinked, momentarily blinded [with object]: he blinked his eyes nervously
    More example sentences
    • She waited for it to go away; she blinked, shut her eyes and opened them again to no avail.
    • He opened his eyes and quickly blinked as the rainwater seeped into his eyes.
    • He blinked quickly and then turned to look at the half open door where his mother was leaning inside.
  • 1.1 [with object] (blink back) Try to control or prevent (tears) by shutting and opening the eyes quickly: Elizabeth blinked back tears
    More example sentences
    • She lay there for a few seconds before blinking the tears back.
    • Emily found her eyes full of tears, and blinked them back.
    • Her gray eyes filled with tears, but she blinked them back resolutely.
  • 1.2 (blink at) [usually with negative] React to (something) with surprise or disapproval: he doesn’t blink at the unsavory aspects of his subject
    More example sentences
    • Well, purchasing power is up for sure and nobody blinks at a thousand rupees for a ticket anymore.
    • Why, he asks, does wearing the swastika attract widespread scorn, while no one blinks at the person wearing a hammer and sickle on his baseball cap?
    • Neither mother nor child even blinked at the scene they created.
    be surprised, look twice
    informal boggle
  • 1.3Back down from a confrontation: the government blinked in the face of a coordinated public sector strike
    More example sentences
    • The big oil companies did not blink and the value of their stocks has continued to rise.
    • Next day when the Senators asked similar questions he did not blink.
    back down, give in, knuckle under, submit, relent
  • 2(Of a light or light source) shine intermittently or unsteadily: the icon for his e-mail was blinking
    More example sentences
    • The overhead lights blinked once, then went out, casting the compartment in darkness.
    • A red light began blinking and flashing in the room, and an alarm went berserk.
    • At night all the lights blink and flash, and you can hear waves of screams from the rides.


[in singular] Back to top  
  • 1An act of shutting and opening the eyes quickly: he was observing her every blink
    More example sentences
    • I take long blinks and rarely look at the camera's screen.
    • Tying a balloon at the gate to the zoo, he catches the blink of a cashier before she rings up another fee, hungers for the moment a turtle slips into water.
    • Voters are seen as a strange and volatile lot, who could turn bad at the blink of an eye.
  • 1.1A moment’s hesitation: Thompson would have given her all this without a blink
    More example sentences
    • The film leaps from cityscapes to stages and back without a blink.
    • If I would get the chance I would fight them tomorrow without a blink of my eye.
    • She accepted the whole thing without a blink… although I can't say the same about my brother and father.
  • 2A momentary gleam of light.
    More example sentences
    • The car responds with a blink of its lights and a short shriek.
    • It should come as no surprise that, when the slightest blink of yellow light came into view, I recklessly sped towards it.
    • She gave Sasha a short blink from her light and heard the car motor start.


not blink an eye

Show no reaction.
More example sentences
  • We don't blink an eye at helping the mentally retarded; the fact that many poor people are intellectually inferior only bolsters their need for assistance from the more able.
  • We don't blink an eye today when we see women doing what would once be considered jobs for the boys.
  • The point is that the character's gay but the audience doesn't blink an eye.

in the blink of an eye (or in a blink)

informal Very quickly.
More example sentences
  • Richard was a little shocked to see her go from shy and demure to forthright and direct in the blink of an eye.
  • Dinner went by reasonably quickly, and in the blink of an eye, they were fast asleep, except for one.
  • He looks like a picture, frozen in time, one instant that happened in the blink of an eye, unnoticed and uncared for by the rest of the universe.

on the blink

informal (Of a machine) not working properly; out of order: the computer’s on the blink
More example sentences
  • The chip fat filtering machine went on the blink and a manager decided to cut corners.
  • But it's the relatively trivial things which are the most maddening and frustrating - TVs conking out, ovens going on the blink, computers crashing.
  • In exasperation Alan finally said: ‘Either there's something wrong with your modem or your computer's on the blink.’


Middle English: from blenk, Scots variant of blench1, reinforced by Middle Dutch blinken 'to shine'. Early senses included 'deceive', 'flinch' (compare with blench1), also 'open the eyes after sleep': hence sense 1 (mid 16th century).

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