black box


Definition of black box

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually complicated electronic device whose internal mechanism is usually hidden from or mysterious to the user broadly : anything that has mysterious or unknown internal functions or mechanisms
2 : a crashworthy device in aircraft for recording cockpit conversations and flight data
3 : a device in an automobile that records information (such as speed, temperature, or gasoline efficiency) which can be used to monitor vehicle performance or determine a cause in the event of an accident

black box


Definition of black box (Entry 2 of 2)

: being or containing a warning of a serious or life-threatening side effect (such as stroke or muscle damage) that is highlighted by a black border on a prescription drug's label or accompanying literature

Examples of black box in a Sentence

Noun The black boxes were recovered from the crash site and provided useful information about the cause of the crash.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While Tesla got some data, a flash card in the car’s black box has yet to be examined by them. Brad Templeton, Forbes, "Fatal Texas Tesla Crash Becomes Locked Room Murder Mystery With New Tesla Statements," 28 Apr. 2021 Detectives did get a search warrant for the data recorder, or black box, for Woods' vehicle. NBC News, "Tiger Woods on crutches with his 'faithful rehab partner' in first photo since crash," 24 Apr. 2021 The new Apple TV looks much like its predecessor—a black box with rounded corners that is about the size of a small book. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Everything Apple just unveiled at its April 2021 event," 20 Apr. 2021 To learn more about what happened, the sheriff’s department then execute a search warrant to obtain the data from the vehicle’s black box, which typically shows speed, steering and braking activity before impact. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods driving more than 82 mph before crash, unclear if he was conscious, sheriff says," 7 Apr. 2021 And an airplane’s black box is not black at all — it is painted orange. New York Times, "At This N.C.A.A. Tournament, Orange Is the New Bracket," 19 Mar. 2021 Detectives searched the data recorder of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, known as a black box. Stefanie Dazio,, "Los Angeles sheriff will reveal the cause of Tiger Woods’ SUV crash after previously citing privacy concerns," 7 Apr. 2021 Investigators did search the SUV’s data recorder, known as a black box, which revealed the vehicle’s speed. Stefanie Dazio, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tiger Woods was driving up to 87 mph when he crashed SUV," 7 Apr. 2021 The captain of the Lomita Sheriff’s Station, James Powers, said that data was obtained from the vehicle’s event data recorder, known colloquially as the black box. Kevin Draper, New York Times, "Tiger Woods Was Driving About 85 M.P.H. in a 45 M.P.H. Zone When He Crashed," 7 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black box.' 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 box


circa 1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1968, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for black box

Time Traveler

The first known use of black box was circa 1945

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Cite this Entry

“Black box.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for black box

black box


English Language Learners Definition of black box

: a device used in an airplane to record flight information (such as altitude or airspeed) or the voices of the pilots and crew

black box


Medical Definition of black box

: being or containing a warning of a serious or life-threatening side effect (as stroke, muscle damage, or suicidal tendencies) that is highlighted by a black border on a prescription drug's label or accompanying literature A "black box" warning is the most serious warning placed in the labeling of a prescription medication.— Johnathan D. Rockoff, The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, 8 June 2007

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