1

black

play
adjective \ˈblak\
Updated on: 26 Jul 2017

Definition of black

  1. 1a :  of the color black (see 2black 2) a black sweater a black dog as black as coalb (1) :  very dark in color his face was black with rage (2) :  having a very deep or low register (see 1register 4b) a bass with a black voice (3) :  heavy, serious the play was a black intrigue

  2. 2a :  having dark skin, hair, and eyes :  swarthy the black Irishb (1) often capitalized :  of or relating to any of various population groups having dark pigmentation of the skin black Americans (2) :  of or relating to the African-American people or their culture black literature a black college black pride black studies (3) :  typical or representative of the most readily perceived characteristics of black culture trying to sound black tried to play blacker jazz

  3. 3 :  dressed in black (see 2black 2) playing for the black team

  4. 4 :  dirty, soiled hands black with grime

  5. 5a :  characterized by the absence of light a black nightb :  reflecting or transmitting little or no light black waterc :  served without milk or cream black coffee

  6. 6a :  thoroughly sinister or evil :  wicked a black deedb :  indicative of condemnation or discredit got a black mark for being late

  7. 7 :  connected with or invoking the supernatural and especially the devil black magic the black arts

  8. 8a :  very sad, gloomy, or calamitous black despairb :  marked by the occurrence of disaster black Friday

  9. 9 :  characterized by hostility or angry discontent :  sullen black resentment filled his heart

  10. 10 chiefly British :  subject to boycott by trade-union members as employing or favoring nonunion workers or as operating under conditions considered unfair by the trade union a ship that was declared black by the union

  11. 11a of propaganda :  conducted so as to appear to originate within an enemy country and designed to weaken enemy morale disseminating black propagandab :  characterized by or connected with the use of black propaganda black radio

  12. 12 :  characterized by grim, distorted, or grotesque satire black humor

  13. 13 :  of or relating to covert intelligence operations black government programs

blackish

play \ˈbla-kish\ adjective

blackly

adverb

blackness

noun

Examples of black in a Sentence

  1. a little black dress blends into the night very well

Recent Examples of black from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of black

Middle English blak, from Old English blæc; akin to Old High German blah black, and probably to Latin flagrare to burn, Greek phlegein


2

black

noun

Definition of black

  1. 1 :  a pigment or dye of the color black :  a black pigment or dye; especially :  one consisting largely of carbon

  2. 2 :  the achromatic (see achromatic 3) color of least lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that neither reflect nor transmit light walls painted in black

  3. 3 :  something that is black: such asa :  black clothing looks good in blackb :  a black animal (such as a horse)c baseball :  the narrow, black edge of home plate a pitch on the black [=a pitch that crosses over the very edge of home plate]

  4. 4a :  a person belonging to any of various population groups having dark pigmentation of the skinb :  african-american a position supported by both blacks and whites blacks and other people of color

  5. 5 in board games :  the pieces of a dark color in a board game for two players (such as chess) black moves first

  6. 6 :  total or nearly total absence of light the black of night

  7. 7 :  the condition of making a profit —usually used with the operating in the black — compare red

Examples of black in a Sentence

  1. The wall was painted in black.

  2. a mixture of grays and blacks

  3. She was dressed in black.

Recent Examples of black from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of black

see 1black


3

black

verb

Definition of black

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to become black (see 1black)

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to make black blacked his boots

  5. 2 chiefly British :  to declare (something, such as a business or industry) subject to boycott by trade-union members

Examples of black in a Sentence

  1. He blacked his boots with polish.

  2. Labor union members have blacked the company.

Recent Examples of black from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of black

see 1black


Black

play
biographical name \ˈblak\

Definition of Black

  1. Hugo LaFayette 1886–1971 American jurist and politician


Black

biographical name

Definition of Black

  1. Sir James Whyte 1924–2010 British pharmacologist


Black

geographical name

Definition of Black

  1. 1 river 101 miles (162 kilometers) long in east central Louisiana flowing south into the Red River

  2. 2 or in China Amoplay \ˈä-ˈmō\ or in Vietnam Daplay \ˈdä\ river 500 miles (805 kilometers) long in southeastern Asia rising in central Yunnan, China, and flowing southeast to the Red River in northern Vietnam


Financial Definition of BLACK

black

What It Is

Black is slang for profit. Profit, also called net income, is the amount remaining after all costs, depreciation, interest, taxes, and other expenses have been deducted from total sales. Profit is also referred to as the bottom line, net profit, or net earnings. The formula for profit is:

Total Sales - Total Expenses = Profit

Note that preferred stock dividends are typically included in the traditional net income calculation, but common stock dividends are not.

How It Works

Here is some information about Company XYZ for last year:


Using the formula and the information above, we can calculate that Company XYZ's profit was:

$1,000,000 - $500,000 - $300,000 - $100,000 - $5,000 + $1,000 - $10,000 - $10,000 = $76,000

This means that Company XYZ made $76,000 of profit last year. It was “in the black.”

Why It Matters

Philosophically speaking, being in the black is what motivates industry, entrepreneurship, and innovation. It is the very thing that enables people to feed themselves, clothe their families, create jobs, and set money aside for the future. It is not a vice, but rather an incentive to dream, take risks, and try harder. As Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics, put it, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

In the retail industry, companies often don’t become profitable until the fourth quarter, when Christmas shopping begins. This is the source of the term “Black Friday.”



BLACK Defined for English Language Learners

black

play
adjective

Definition of black for English Language Learners

  • : having the very dark color of coal or the night sky

  • : very dark because there is no light

  • : of or relating to a race of people who have dark skin and who come originally from Africa

black

noun

Definition of black for English Language Learners

  • : the dark color of coal or the night sky

  • : black clothing

  • : a person belonging to a race of people who have dark skin : a black person

black

verb

Definition of black for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something) black

  • : to refuse to work for or with (a business, employer, etc.) or to buy (goods, services, etc.)


BLACK Defined for Kids

1

black

play
adjective \ˈblak\

Definition of black for Students

blacker

;

blackest

  1. 1 :  of the color of coal :  colored black

  2. 2 :  very dark a black night

  3. 3 often cap :  of or relating to any peoples having dark skin and especially any of the original peoples of Africa south of the Sahara

  4. 4 :  of or relating to Americans having ancestors from Africa south of the Sahara

  5. 5 :  wicked 1 a black deed

  6. 6 :  very sad or gloomy in a black mood

  7. 7 :  unfriendly 1 a black look

blackish

adjective

blackness

noun

2

black

play
noun

Definition of black for Students

  1. 1 :  the color of coal :  the opposite of white

  2. 2 :  black clothing He is dressed in black.

  3. 3 :  a person belonging to a race of people having dark skin

  4. 4 :  an American having black African ancestors :  african-american

  5. 5 :  total or near total darkness the black of night

  6. 6 :  the condition of making a profit The company is in the black.


3

black

play
verb

Definition of black for Students

blacked

;

blacking

  1. :  blacken 1

black out

  1. :  to lose consciousness or the ability to see for a short time



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up black? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to plunder or ravage

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!