v. blinked, blink·ing, blinks
1. To close and open one or both of the eyes rapidly.
2. To look in astonishment or disbelief, typically with the eyes blinking: stood blinking at the money they found in the drawer; blinked at the results of the experiment.
3. To look through half-closed eyes, as in a bright glare; squint: blinked at the page trying to make out the letters.
4. To give off light with intermittent gleams; flash on and off: "blazing neon signs, brilliant shop windows, decorations blinking across the fronts of half-finished tower blocks" (Jess Row).
5. To pretend to be ignorant of; disregard or condone: a mayor who refused to blink at corruption.
6. To waver or back down, as in a contest of wills: "This was the first genuine, direct confrontation between this administration and the Soviets. It was the U.S.A. that blinked" (Zbigniew Brzezinski).
1. To cause to blink: blinked his eyes to clear his vision.
2. To hold back or remove from the eyes by blinking: blinked back the tears.
3. To refuse to recognize or face: blink ugly facts.
4. To transmit (a message) with a flashing light.
1. The act or an instance of rapidly closing and opening the eyes or an eye.
2. An instant: I'll be back in a blink.
3. Scots A quick look or glimpse; a glance.
4. A flash of light; a twinkle.
5. See iceblink.
in the blink of an eye
on the blink
Out of working order.
without blinking an eye
Without showing any reaction.
[Probably Middle English blinken, to move suddenly, variant of blenchen; see BLENCH1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.