verb (used without object)

  1. to open and close the eye, especially involuntarily; wink rapidly and repeatedly.
  2. to look with winking or half-shut eyes: I blinked at the harsh morning light.
  3. to be startled, surprised, or dismayed (usually followed by at): She blinked at his sudden fury.
  4. to look evasively or with indifference; ignore (often followed by at): to blink at another’s eccentricities.
  5. to shine unsteadily, dimly, or intermittently; twinkle: The light on the buoy blinked in the distance.

verb (used with object)

  1. to open and close (the eye or eyes), usually rapidly and repeatedly; wink: She blinked her eyes in an effort to wake up.
  2. to cause (something) to blink: We blinked the flashlight frantically, but there was no response.
  3. to ignore deliberately; evade; shirk.


  1. an act of blinking: The faithful blink of the lighthouse.
  2. a gleam; glimmer: There was not a blink of light anywhere.
  3. Chiefly Scot. a glance or glimpse.
  4. Meteorology.
    1. iceblink.
    2. snowblink.
  1. on the blink, not in proper working order; in need of repair: The washing machine is on the blink again.


  1. to close and immediately reopen (the eyes or an eye), usually involuntarily
  2. (intr) to look with the eyes partially closed, as in strong sunlight
  3. to shine intermittently, as in signalling, or unsteadily
  4. (tr ; foll by away, from , etc) to clear the eyes of (dust, tears, etc)
  5. (when tr , usually foll by at) to be surprised or amazedhe blinked at the splendour of the ceremony
  6. (when intr , foll by at) to pretend not to know or see (a fault, injustice, etc)


  1. the act or an instance of blinking
  2. a glance; glimpse
  3. short for iceblink (def. 1)
  4. on the blink slang not working properly

1580s, perhaps from Middle Dutch blinken “to glitter,” of uncertain origin, possibly, with German blinken “to gleam, sparkle, twinkle,” from a nasalized form of base found in Old English blican “to shine, glitter” (see bleach (v.)).

Middle English had blynke (c.1300) in the sense “a brief gleam or spark,” perhaps a variant of blench “to move suddenly or sharply; to raise one’s eyelids” (c.1200), perhaps from the rare Old English blencan “deceive.” Related: Blinked; blinking. The last, as a euphemism for a stronger word, is attested by 1914.


1590s, “a glance;” see blink (v.). As is the case with the verb, there is a similar word in Middle English, in use from c.1300, that might represent a native form of the same root.

see on the blink.

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