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


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

Other parts of the arena could become a black box performance space, Pasternak said., "In an old laser tag arena, a new high school hopes to set 'a future example’ for learning," 4 June 2019 Chinese elite politics have always been a black box, but the signals on economic policy emerging from Beijing in recent weeks have been more at cross-purposes than usual. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Chinese Central Bank’s Rhetoric Is Concerning," 11 Mar. 2019 Readers quickly took note of the thick black boxes covering the text and reacted humorously on Twitter. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Twitter Is Having a Field Day With the Mueller Report Redactions," 18 Apr. 2019 Two black box theaters have come along, adding to the regular performances put on by Portland Conservatory of Music, which operates out of Woodfords Congregational Church. Alexandra Hall,, "At the heart of Woodfords Corner’s revival is this: ‘You don’t get very many opportunities in life to do what you really believe in’," 26 June 2018 The black boxes from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 arrived in France early Thursday for analysis, a key step in a probe that could help determine how long Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jetliner remains grounded around the world. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Crashed Ethiopian Jet’s Black Boxes to Be Probed for Clues to 737 MAX’s Safety," 14 Mar. 2019 As electronics got better, black boxes found their way into the sport. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "F1 2018: More than a great game, it’s an interactive history lesson," 17 Aug. 2018 Investigators in Europe will examine the Ethiopia Airline's flight recorder and voice data black boxes in the coming days, in an effort to determine if the two disasters are linked by a common flaw. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "The United States Grounds All Boeing 737 Max 8 And 9 Jets," 13 Mar. 2019 Some were simple, such as a black box leather version made of a single piece with a chalk-like trompe l’oeil outline. Vogue, "Garçon! Olivier Saillard Steps Into the Role of Waiter-Poet for J.M. Weston," 16 Jan. 2019

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

The first known use of black box was circa 1945

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with black box

Spanish Central: Translation of black box Encyclopedia article about black box

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