Definition of blink in English:


Line breaks: blink
Pronunciation: /blɪŋk


[no object]
  • 1Shut and open the eyes quickly: I blinked in astonishment [with object]: he blinked his eyes nervously she blinked away her tears
    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.
    shut and open, flutter, flicker, wink, bat
    technical nictitate, nictate
  • 1.1 [with object] (blink something back) Try to control or prevent tears by blinking: 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 [usually with negative] (blink at) React to (something) with surprise or disapproval: he doesn’t blink at the unsavoury 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, be startled, be shocked
    informal boggle
  • 1.3Back down from a confrontation: the government blinked only after losing 46 of the first 48 hearings
    More example sentences
    • It looks like they're playing chicken to see who's going to blink first.
    • On the matter of generic pharmaceuticals, it seems to be a case of who blinks first.
    • Another area where enterprise customers blink is multiple sources.


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  • 1An act of shutting and opening the eyes very 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: Feargal 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: out on the marshes there was a blink 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.


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

Very quickly: software that would do lots of boring calculations in the blink of an eye
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.

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.

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), and also 'open the eyes after sleep': hence sense 1 of the verb (mid 16th century).

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