adjective, blank·er, blank·est.

  1. (of paper or other writing surface) having no marks; not written or printed on: a blank sheet of paper.
  2. not filled in, as a printed form: a blank check.
  3. unrelieved or unbroken by ornament, opening, decoration, etc.: a blank wall.
  4. lacking some usual or completing feature: a blank roll of film.
  5. (of a recording medium) containing no previously recorded information: a blank videocassette; a blank floppy disk.Compare prerecorded.
  6. void of interest, variety, results, etc.: She sometimes occupied her blank days reading detective stories.
  7. showing no attention, interest, or emotion: a blank expression on his face.
  8. disconcerted; nonplussed; speechless: He looked blank when I asked him why he applied for the job.
  9. complete; utter; unmitigated: blank stupidity.
  10. Archaic. white; pale; colorless.


  1. a place where something is lacking; an empty space: a blank in one’s memory.
  2. a space in a printed form, test, etc., to be filled in: Write your name in the blank.
  3. a printed form containing such spaces: Have you filled out one of these blanks?
  4. a dash put in place of an omitted letter, series of letters, etc., especially to avoid writing a word considered profane or obscene.
  5. Metalworking. a piece of metal ready to be drawn, pressed, or machined into a finished object.
  6. Archery. the bull’s-eye.
  7. the object toward which anything is directed; aim; target.
  8. blank cartridge.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cross out or delete, especially in order to invalidate or void (usually followed by out): to blank out an entry.
  2. Informal. to keep (an opponent) from scoring in a game.
  3. Metalworking. to stamp or punch out of flat stock, as with a die.
  1. draw a blank,
    1. to fail in an attempt; be unsuccessful: We’ve drawn a blank in the investigation.
    2. to fail to comprehend or be unable to recollect: He asked me their phone number and I drew a blank.


  1. (of a writing surface) bearing no marks; not written on
  2. (of a form, etc) with spaces left for details to be filled in
  3. without ornament or break; unrelieveda blank wall
  4. not filled in; empty; voida blank space
  5. exhibiting no interest or expressiona blank look
  6. lacking understanding; confusedhe looked blank even after the explanations
  7. absolute; completeblank rejection
  8. devoid of ideas or inspirationhis mind went blank in the exam
  9. unproductive; barren


  1. an emptiness; void; blank space
  2. an empty space for writing in, as on a printed form
  3. a printed form containing such empty spaces
  4. something characterized by incomprehension or mental confusionmy mind went a complete blank
  5. a mark, often a dash, in place of a word, esp a taboo word
  6. short for blank cartridge
  7. a plate or plug used to seal an aperture
  8. a piece of material prepared for stamping, punching, forging, etc
  9. archery the white spot in the centre of a target
  10. draw a blank
    1. to choose a lottery ticket that fails to win
    2. to get no results from something

verb (tr)

  1. (usually foll by out) to cross out, blot, or obscure
  2. slang to ignore or be unresponsive towards (someone)the crowd blanked her for the first four numbers
  3. to forge, stamp, punch, or cut (a piece of material) in preparation for forging, die-stamping, or drawing operations
  4. (often foll by off) to seal (an aperture) with a plate or plug
  5. US and Canadian informal to prevent (an opponent) from scoring in a game

early 13c., “white, pale, colorless,” from Old French blanc “white, shining,” from Frankish *blank “white, gleaming,” or some other West Germanic source (cf. Old Norse blakkr, Old English blanca “white horse;” Old High German blanc, blanch; German blank “shining, bright”), from Proto-Germanic *blangkaz “to shine, dazzle,” extended form of PIE root *bhel- (1) “to shine, flash, burn” (see bleach (v.)).

Meaning “having empty spaces” evolved c.1400. Sense of “void of expression” (a blank look) is from 1550s. Spanish blanco, Italian bianco are said to be from Germanic. Related: Blankly, blankness.


late 14c. as the name of a small French coin; 1550s as “white space in the center of a target,” from the same source as blank (adj.). Meaning “empty space” (in a document, etc.) is from c.1570. Meaning “losing lottery ticket” (1560s) is behind the expression draw a blank. The word has been “for decorum’s sake, substituted for a word of execration” [OED] from 1854. From 1896 as short for blank cartridge (itself from 1826).


1540s, “to nonplus, disconcert, shut up;” 1560s, “to frustrate,” from blank (adj.). Sports sense of “defeat (another team) without allowing a score” is from 1870. Meaning “to become blank or empty” is from 1955. Related: Blanked; blanking.

In addition to the idiom beginning with blank

  • blank check

also see:

  • draw a blank
  • fill in (the blanks)
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