\ ˈblak How to pronounce black (audio) \

Definition of black

 (Entry 1 of 6)

1 : of the color black (see black entry 2 sense 2) a black sweater a black dog as black as coal
2 or Black
a : of or relating to any of various population groups having dark pigmentation of the skin black Americans
b : of or relating to African American people or their culture black literature a black college Black pride Black studies
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



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]
4a : a person belonging to any of various population groups having dark pigmentation of the skin
b : african american

Note: Use of the noun black in the singular to refer to a person is considered offensive. The plural form blacks is commonly used to refer to black people as a group or community.

a position supported by both blacks and whites blacks and other people of color
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 theoperating in the black — compare red sense 6


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


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

Definition of Black (Entry 4 of 6)

Hugo LaFayette 1886–1971 American jurist and politician


biographical name (2)

Definition of Black (Entry 5 of 6)

Sir James Whyte 1924–2010 British pharmacologist


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 Amo (audio) \ or in Vietnam Da \ ˈdä How to pronounce Da (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


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

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 Biden's support among black voters has also declined, dropping from 51% last month to 32% now, according to the ABC News-Washington Post poll released on Feb. 19. Kendall Karson, ABC News, "Nevada voters cast ballots in first truly diverse state to weigh in on Democratic primary: Live updates," 22 Feb. 2020 Once again, the premiere opens with a black-and-white flashforward that feels like a mini-masterpiece, and proves even more tense than usual thanks to the announcement that the series' finish is now in sight. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Better Call Saul' inches closer to 'Breaking Bad' as the end draws nearer," 21 Feb. 2020 In 1997, North Carolina artist Clark Whittington filled an old cigarette machine with black-and-white photos mounted on wooden blocks the size of a cigarette box. Fritz Hahn, Washington Post, "Forget chips and sodas: D.C.’s coolest vending machines dispense Japanese toys, tarot cards and original art," 21 Feb. 2020 The designer gets much of her inspiration from travel: The standout pattern from her debut line is a black-and-white lion's face. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Watch This Designer Translate Hand Drawings Into Gorgeous Wallpaper," 20 Feb. 2020 Jenner shared a black-and-white photo of her natural hair in short dark bob on her Instagram Stories on Friday, then returned hours later with the new wig. Tara Edwards,, "Kylie Jenner Shows Off Yet Another New Hair Look That’s All Valentine’s Vibes," 15 Feb. 2020 Mr Le Drian, born in the Brittany town of Lorient, was merely the latest to join an effort to turn the black-and-white striped Brittany flag into a digital icon. The Economist, "Not just a smiley face The struggle to give Brittany its own emoji," 13 Feb. 2020 The research found traces of PCP — formally known as Phencyclidine but also angel dust — in 615 blood samples taken during DWI arrests between 2013 and 2018, with the typical user being black men in their 30s. Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle, "Houston is the largest metro area with significant PCP problem, report says," 12 Feb. 2020 Other cans will launch on other occasions, with the black-and-gold can coming out on 4/14, or April 14, Milwaukee Day. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New 414 lager is designed to reflect city's diversity and marks the return of Brenner beer," 11 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun West Oakland was one of the few areas blacks could live because of redlining, the systemic and discriminatory practice of refusing to issue them loans in certain neighborhoods. Otis R. Taylor Jr.,, "Widow of Black Panther founder Huey Newton fights for monument in West Oakland," 20 Feb. 2020 Nephew Troy is in line to take over the yellow-and-black Camaro. Michael Knight, azcentral, "NHRA Pro Stock racer Matt Hartford back for another shot at Arizona Nationals," 19 Feb. 2020 Bella wore the same faux fur bucket hat just a day earlier, this time matching the piece with an oversized orange blazer from DROMe, a brown Danielle Guizio Knit Cropped Cardigan, a pair of Han Kjøbenhavn trousers and some classic black Doc Martens. Braden Bjella, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid Wore a $26 Hat from ASOS," 18 Feb. 2020 While the sons of white immigrants – John McGraw, Honus Wagner, Joe DiMaggio – became major leaguers lionized by their nationalities, blacks didn’t have that opportunity. Rob Ruck, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Baseball’s Negro Leagues Defied the Stereotypes of Segregation," 15 Feb. 2020 The latter, which is most common, features a pattern called countershading, in which the fish has a black back and a white belly. National Geographic, "How did this rare pink manta get its color?," 11 Feb. 2020 Trump highlighted key issues that would resonate among blacks, Van Jones noted, including record-low unemployment, signing criminal-justice reform into law, and providing more federal backing for historically black colleges and universities. John Fund, National Review, "Democrats Lose If They Let Trump Live Rent-Free in Their Heads," 9 Feb. 2020 Black migration brings the 12-bar blues Between World War I and World War II, nearly 2 million blacks fled the South. Rashad Shabazz, The Conversation, "How Minneapolis made Prince," 27 Jan. 2020 The carbon fiber top cover that helps lighten the ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes in basic, painted black on all models, or a pricier Weave version that shows off the underlying material. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 gets Comet Lake power," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Moscow, blacked-out to withstand German air raids, his hosts provided him with a bomb shelter equipped with caviar and champagne. The Economist, "The art of the shadow deal Presidents have sometimes favoured back channels in foreign policy," 21 Nov. 2019 The music industry narrowly avoided an extinction event around the turn of the millennium, when online file-sharing and high-speed streaming made everything from The Beatles to black metal free of charge (albeit illegally). Washington Post, "Paul McCartney And Lady Gaga Find an Ally Against YouTube," 14 Feb. 2019 In addition to, or as a result of, the plants have black staining down the trunks and are weeping a thick, black, sticky substance that smells of fermenting fruit. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Can I chip our dying red alder tree that has a bacterial infection?," 27 Oct. 2019 One problem may have been that, last month, an internal campaign memo was leaked, which suggested that Buttigieg’s lack of support in South Carolina is attributable to black voters’ discomfort with his open references to his homosexuality. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "The 2020 Democrats Converge on Atlanta, Signalling Georgia’s New Political Importance," 20 Nov. 2019 The suit accuses Netflix of a lack of diversity in its senior leadership ranks, and a history of insensitivity to black people. Gene Maddaus,, "Mo’Nique files race and sex discrimination suit against Netflix," 14 Nov. 2019 Both seemingly liberal places (although, to my knowledge, Graham Potter has never blacked up), with middling sporting gravitas., "Rugby World Cup 2019: Comparing Every RWC Nation With Their Premier League Counterpart," 20 Sep. 2019 One is struck on the head and dragged into the grave, still glowing with life until the earth blacks him out. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Atlantis': Film Review | Venice 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 Chloe Cushman There is no other business like the N.B.A. Its rainbow jump shots, rim-rattling dunks and heart-pounding drama are gleaming monuments to black America. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "Is Slavery’s Legacy in the Power Dynamics of Sports?," 16 Aug. 2019

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


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


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


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

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Statistics for black

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Black.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for black



Financial Definition of 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.”

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce Black (audio)

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



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



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.)


\ 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 peoples having dark skin and especially any of the original peoples of Africa south of the Sahara
4 : of or relating to Americans having ancestors from Africa south of the Sahara
5 : wicked sense 1 a black deed
6 : very sad or gloomy in a black mood
7 : unfriendly sense 1 a black look

Other Words from black

blackish adjective
blackness 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 race of people having dark skin
4 : an American having black African ancestors : african-american
5 : total or near total darkness the black of night
6 : the condition of making a profit The company is in the black.


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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More from Merriam-Webster on black

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for black

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with black

Spanish Central: Translation of black

Nglish: Translation of black for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of black for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about black

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