v. winked, wink·ing, winks
1. To close and open the eyelid of one eye deliberately, as to convey a message, signal, or suggestion.
2. To close and open the eyelids of both eyes; blink.
3. To shine fitfully; twinkle: Harbor lights were winking in the distance.
1. To close and open (an eye or the eyes) rapidly.
2. To signal or express by winking: winked his agreement.
a. The act of winking.
b. A signal or hint conveyed by winking.
2. The very brief time required for a wink; an instant.
3. A quick closing and opening of the eyelids; a blink.
4. A gleam or twinkle.
5. Informal A brief period of sleep.
To pretend not to see: winked at corruption in the ministry.
To come to a close; end.
[Middle English winken, to close one's eyes, from Old English wincian.]
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.