Definition of blank in English:


Line breaks: blank
Pronunciation: /blaŋk


  • 1(Of a surface or background) unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain: a blank wall the screen went blank
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    • 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
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    • 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, unfilled, unmarked, unwritten on, unused, clear, free, bare, clean, plain, spotless, white; vacant, void
  • 1.2(Of a document) with spaces left for a signature or details: blank tax-return forms
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    • 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
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    • 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.
  • 4Used euphemistically in place of an adjective regarded as obscene, profane, or abusive: show the miserable blank-blank Englishman how to fight this war
    More example sentences
    • That whole blanking thing is very ugly, isn't it?


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  • 1A space left to be filled in a document: leave blanks to type in the appropriate names
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
  • 2 (also blank cartridge) A cartridge containing gunpowder but no bullet, used for training or as a signal.
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    • 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
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    • 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.
    void, vacuum, emptiness, vacancy
  • 4An object which has no mark or design on it, in particular:
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    • A lens blank is marked to show where the cylinder axis will be.
    • Those are the sorts of benefits that can be achieved by utilizing hard turning in place of grinding for a variety of workpieces, ranging from gear blanks to wheel hubs.
    • One of the best ways to reduce vulnerabilities is to eliminate public access to key blanks for these systems, lock experts say.
  • 4.1A roughly cut metal or wooden block intended for further shaping or finishing.
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    • 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.
  • 4.2A domino with one or both halves blank.
  • 4.3A plain metal disc from which a coin is made by stamping a design on it.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.


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  • 1Make (something) blank or empty: electronic countermeasures blanked out the radar signals
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    • 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
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    • 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 disc can be blanked out in one piece
  • 2North American informal Defeat (a sports team) without allowing them to score: Baltimore blanked Toronto in a 7-0 victory
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    • 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.
  • 3British informal Deliberately ignore (someone): I just blanked them and walked out
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    • The actor has slammed his co-star for claiming he deliberately blanked him on the set of the boxing movie.
    • Some days he looks at you and some days he blanks you.
    • At least this time she said hello to me, most of the time she blanks me.


be firing blanks

humorous (Of a man) be infertile.
More example sentences
  • He's probably been firing blanks for years, but wouldn't admit it for a second - after all, a man isn't really a man if he can't hit the target.

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.



More example sentences
  • Just now I was staring blankly out the window for the longest time, watching Harry sleep.
  • She scanned it with her eyes and stared blankly at the computer screen.
  • If anyone protests, just smile blankly, say thank you, and go ahead anyway.


More 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, colourless'): from Old French blanc 'white', ultimately of Germanic origin.

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