black

adjective
\ ˈblak How to pronounce black (audio) \

Definition of black

 (Entry 1 of 6)

1 : having the very dark color of the night sky or the eye's pupil : of the color black (see black entry 2 sense 2) a black sweater a black dog as black as coal
2 Black or less commonly black
a : of or relating to any of various population groups of especially African ancestry often considered as having dark pigmentation of the skin but in fact having a wide range of skin colors Black Americans

Note: Capitalization of Black in this use is now widely established.

b : of or relating to Black people and often especially to African American people or their culture Black literature a Black college Black pride Black studies

Note: Capitalization of Black in this use is now widely established.

3 : dressed in black (see black entry 2 sense 2) playing for the black team
4 : dirty, soiled hands black with grime
5a : characterized by the absence of light a black night
b : reflecting or transmitting little or no light black water
c : served without milk or cream black coffee
6a old-fashioned + literary : thoroughly sinister or evil : wicked When the King heard of this black deed, in his grief and rage he denounced relentless war against his Barons …— Charles Dickens
b : indicative of condemnation or discredit got a black mark for being late
c : heavy, serious the play was a black intrigue
7 : connected with or invoking the supernatural and especially the devil black magic the black arts
8a : very sad, gloomy, or calamitous black despair
b : marked by the occurrence of disaster black Friday
9a : characterized by hostility or angry discontent : sullen black resentment filled his heart
b : distorted or darkened by anger his face was black with rage
10 : having dark skin, hair, and eyes the black Irish
11 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
12a of propaganda : conducted so as to appear to originate within an enemy country and designed to weaken enemy morale Black propaganda … is the business of going to elaborate ends to spread half-true, misleading or downright false information to get your enemy in trouble.— Everett G. Martin
b : characterized by or connected with the use of black propaganda Press reports say that in addition to dropping leaflets over urban areas, messages were broadcast over two "black" radio stations, … both of which were operated by the CIA.Strategic Intelligence
13 : characterized by grim, distorted, or grotesque satire black humor
14 : of or relating to covert intelligence operations black government programs
15 : having a very deep or low register (see register entry 1 sense 4b) a bass with a black voice

black

noun

Definition of black (Entry 2 of 6)

1 : a pigment or dye of the color black : a black pigment or dye especially : one consisting largely of carbon
2 : the achromatic (see achromatic sense 3) color of least lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that neither reflect nor transmit light walls painted in black
3 : something that is black: such as
a : black clothing looks good in black
b : 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 Black or less commonly black
a : a person belonging to any of various population groups of especially African ancestry often considered as having dark pigmentation of the skin but in fact having a wide range of skin colors

Note: Capitalization of Black in this use is now widely established.

b : african american

Note: Capitalization of Black in this use is now widely established.

Note: Use of the noun Black in the singular to refer to a person is considered offensive. The plural form Blacks is still commonly used by Black people and others to refer to Black people as a group or community, but the plural form too is increasingly considered offensive, and most style guides advise writers to use Black people rather than Blacks when practical.

5 in board games : the pieces of a dark color in a board game for two players (such as chess) black moves second
6 : total or nearly total absence of light the black of night
7 : the condition of making a profit usually used with the operating in the black — compare red sense 6

black

verb
blacked; blacking; blacks

Definition of black (Entry 3 of 6)

intransitive verb

: to become black (see black entry 1)

transitive verb

1 : to make black blacked his boots
2 chiefly British : to declare (something, such as a business or industry) subject to boycott by trade-union members

Black

biographical name (1)
\ ˈblak How to pronounce Black (audio) \

Definition of Black (Entry 4 of 6)

Hugo LaFayette 1886–1971 American jurist and politician

Black

biographical name (2)

Definition of Black (Entry 5 of 6)

Sir James Whyte 1924–2010 British pharmacologist

Black

geographical name

Definition of Black (Entry 6 of 6)

1 river 101 miles (162 kilometers) long in east central Louisiana flowing south into the Red River
2 or in China Amo \ ˈä-​ˈmō How to pronounce Black (audio) \ or in Vietnam Da \ ˈdä How to pronounce Black (audio) \ river 500 miles (805 kilometers) long in southeastern Asia rising in central Yunnan, China, and flowing southeast to the Red River in northern Vietnam

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Other Words from black

Adjective

blackish \ ˈbla-​kish How to pronounce Black (audio) \ adjective
blackly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for black

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of black in a Sentence

Adjective a little black dress blends into the night very well Noun The wall was painted in black. a mixture of grays and blacks She was dressed in black. Verb He blacked his boots with polish. Labor union members have blacked the company.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In the photo, James Brown is looking his best, smiling widely, standing in front of a soft-top sedan and wearing a black turtleneck shirt, gold necklace and blue sport coat. Chris Varias, The Enquirer, 5 June 2021 Leonard held a black-tie event, with a boxing ring as a stage and Howard Cosell serving as master of ceremonies. BostonGlobe.com, 4 June 2021 Shota made a spicy avocado puree, pork loin, sauteed spinach and crunchy black beans. oregonlive, 4 June 2021 Dozens of firefighters dressed in black uniforms lined the entrance to College of the Canyons, in Santa Clarita, when Carlon and her family arrived for the Saugus High School graduation ceremony. David Williams, CNN, 4 June 2021 The interior is defined by contrasting elements, including high-gloss veneers beside soft leathers and brass accents, with white and black marble mingling with European oak herringbone flooring. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 4 June 2021 The boss was always large, loud, prickly and had thick black glasses. Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 Throughout hours of emotional testimony, Augustin sat perfectly still in a black blouse with polka dots and bright yellow pants. Zach Murdock, courant.com, 4 June 2021 Also, expecting black teachers to do their jobs is racist. Kyle Smith, National Review, 4 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To help users create great black-and-white images, Silver Efex Pro has been completely rewritten and now includes ClearView technology. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 2 June 2021 In the black-and-white shot, Polizzi is holding her youngest son in one arm while wrapping her other arm around Lorenzo. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, 31 May 2021 In the black-and-white news footage from 1968, a television reporter asks Clifford R. Montiero an intriguing question. BostonGlobe.com, 28 May 2021 In several interior monologues—marked, often, by bright strobes that offer a respite from the relative sensory privation of the set’s black-and-white motif—the lovers’ language takes a turn away from the day-to-day chatter. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021 Records show Shaffer paid $3.425 million for the house in 2016 and modernized both the exterior and interior, adding a glass garage door and swapping tan living spaces for a clean black-and-white color palette. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021 With his Jersey accent, Rosa might have come from central casting for an old black-and-white Hollywood movie to head up a shadowy bureau. CNN, 10 May 2021 Lawson, who was wearing a fuzzy pink sweater decorated with clusters of pearls and black-and-white plaid cigarette pants, appeared behind him and led me through their modest home. New York Times, 5 May 2021 The sleek black-and-white and structural packaging reminds us of lip products from luxury fashion houses but at a fraction of the price. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moviegoing at the ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres has faded to black. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 13 Apr. 2021 Cut to black on her arrival and The Father will owe you a percentage of its incoming VOD receipts. Chris Feil, Vulture, 13 Apr. 2021 But the librarian would always find them and black them out. courant.com, 18 July 2019 His vision started blacking in from all sides like it was being rubbed out with an eraser. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, 22 June 2018 Each major sports league offers some sort of online viewing option for around $130 a year, with the caveat that local games are blacked out. Jacob Davidson, Southern Living, 1 May 2017 Names and several pages of police reports released Wednesday were blacked out. CBS News, 8 Feb. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of black

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for black

Adjective, Noun, and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for black

Time Traveler

The first known use of black was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for black

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Black.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/black. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for black

black

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of black

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of black (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of black (Entry 3 of 3)

old-fashioned + literary : to make (something) black
British : to refuse to work for or with (a business, employer, etc.) or to buy (goods, services, etc.)

black

adjective
\ ˈblak How to pronounce black (audio) \
blacker; blackest

Kids Definition of black

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : of the color of coal : colored black
2 : very dark a black night
3 often capitalized : of or relating to any of various groups of people having dark pigmentation of the skin
4 often capitalized : of or relating to African-American people or culture
5 : very sad or gloomy in a black mood
6 : unfriendly sense 1 a black look
7 : wicked sense 1 a black deed

Other Words from black

blackish adjective
blackness noun

black

noun

Kids Definition of black (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the color of coal : the opposite of white
2 : black clothing He is dressed in black.
3 : a person belonging to a group of people having dark skin used in pl.
Hint: Black is considered offensive when used as a singular noun referring to a person.
4 : an American having black African ancestors : african-american used in pl.
Hint: Black is considered offensive when used as a singular noun referring to a person.
5 : total or near total darkness the black of night
6 : the condition of making a profit The company is in the black.

black

verb
blacked; blacking

Kids Definition of black (Entry 3 of 3)

black out
: to lose consciousness or the ability to see for a short time

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