verb (used without object)
- to open and close the eye, especially involuntarily; wink rapidly and repeatedly.
- to look with winking or half-shut eyes: I blinked at the harsh morning light.
- to be startled, surprised, or dismayed (usually followed by at): She blinked at his sudden fury.
- to look evasively or with indifference; ignore (often followed by at): to blink at another’s eccentricities.
- to shine unsteadily, dimly, or intermittently; twinkle: The light on the buoy blinked in the distance.
verb (used with object)
- to open and close (the eye or eyes), usually rapidly and repeatedly; wink: She blinked her eyes in an effort to wake up.
- to cause (something) to blink: We blinked the flashlight frantically, but there was no response.
- to ignore deliberately; evade; shirk.
- an act of blinking: The faithful blink of the lighthouse.
- a gleam; glimmer: There was not a blink of light anywhere.
- Chiefly Scot. a glance or glimpse.
- on the blink, not in proper working order; in need of repair: The washing machine is on the blink again.
- to close and immediately reopen (the eyes or an eye), usually involuntarily
- (intr) to look with the eyes partially closed, as in strong sunlight
- to shine intermittently, as in signalling, or unsteadily
- (tr ; foll by away, from , etc) to clear the eyes of (dust, tears, etc)
- (when tr , usually foll by at) to be surprised or amazedhe blinked at the splendour of the ceremony
- (when intr , foll by at) to pretend not to know or see (a fault, injustice, etc)
- the act or an instance of blinking
- a glance; glimpse
- short for iceblink (def. 1)
- 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.