black·​out | \ ˈblak-ˌau̇t How to pronounce blackout (audio) \

Definition of blackout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a turning off of the stage lighting to separate scenes in a play or end a play or skit also : a skit that ends with a blackout
b : a period of darkness enforced as a precaution against air raids
c : a period of darkness (as in a city) caused by a failure of electrical power
2 : a transient dulling or loss of vision, consciousness, or memory an alcoholic blackout
3a : a wiping out : obliteration
b : a blotting out by censorship : suppression a news blackout
4 : a usually temporary loss of a radio signal
5 : the prohibition or restriction of the telecasting of a sports event
6 : a time during which a special commercial offer (as of tickets) is not valid usually used attributivelyblackout dates

black out

blacked out; blacking out; blacks out

Definition of black out (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : blot out, erase blacked out the event from his mind
b : to suppress by censorship black out the news
2 : to envelop in darkness black out the stage
3 : to make inoperative (as by a power failure)
4 : to impose a blackout on blacked out the local game

intransitive verb

1 : to become enveloped in darkness
2 : to undergo a temporary loss of vision, consciousness, or memory

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Examples of blackout in a Sentence

Noun the blackouts of World War II She keeps flashlights and candles handy in case of a blackout. He told his doctor he had been experiencing blackouts. Verb had spent most of her adulthood trying to black out memories of a wretched childhood with the delivery of the knockout punch, the screen blacks out, and in the next scene the boxer wakes up in the hospital
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The deafening silence following the blackouts unnerved my family, who had no means to contact relatives in Tehran or receive updates on their welfare. Ava Johnson, Teen Vogue, "Iranian Americans Are Still Worried About the Prospect of War," 27 Jan. 2020 Some diarists wrote about the difficulties of making their way in the dark of the blackout, a ban on all light pollution to try to deter those elusive air raids. Julia Kelly, Time, "Hundreds of Britons Volunteered for a Diary-Keeping Project in 1937. They Left an Invaluable Record of World War II," 14 Jan. 2020 Her twins were 8 months old when Hernández and her husband began hopping from home to home during the extended islandwide blackout. Author: Arelis R. Hernández, Cristina Corujo, Anchorage Daily News, "Aftershocks again rattle Puerto Rico as residents deal with disaster after disaster," 12 Jan. 2020 The blackouts ended up affecting millions of residents. John Gage, Washington Examiner, "Climate experts back up Trump claim on California wildfires," 11 Jan. 2020 The blackout has imposed significant hardships on area residents. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Indian Supreme Court finds 150-day Internet blackout in Kashmir illegal," 10 Jan. 2020 The information blackout on inspection results ends now. oregonlive, "These 21 Oregon grocery stores did the worst on state health inspections," 10 Jan. 2020 The restive state in northern India faced the longest blackout ever witnessed in a democracy. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Over 4,000 hours of internet shutdowns cost India more than $1.3 billion in 2019," 7 Jan. 2020 In recent months, Venezuela has suffered massive electrical blackouts that have brought major cities to the brink of anarchy and made communicating with remote parts of Canaima even more difficult than usual. Michael Canyon Meyer, Outside Online, "The Murder of Venezuela's Visionary Adventure Guide," 24 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Last summer, the stations were blacked out from AT&T U-verse and DirecTV lineups as the previous owner, Nexstar Media Group, also struggled to reach an agreement. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "AT&T U-verse and DirecTV customers could lose WISH-TV and MyINDY at midnight. Here's why.," 31 Jan. 2020 The Indian region of Kashmir has had most Internet service blacked out since August. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Indian Supreme Court finds 150-day Internet blackout in Kashmir illegal," 10 Jan. 2020 Stagnant negotiations between broadcasters and pay-TV services over the last several weeks pushed the total number of channels blacked out to 230, surpassing the 2017's record of 213, according to a release from the American Television Alliance. Dallas News, "Why AT&T DirecTV customers may not get CBS and other blacked-out channels back anytime soon," 23 July 2019 Ingraham did not state the name of the alleged whistleblower — Fox News hosts are banned from doing so until the identity is confirmed — and blacked out the name when showing excerpts of documents. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Laura Ingraham shows emails tying alleged Ukraine whistleblower to Obama White House meeting on Burisma," 23 Jan. 2020 The documents identify 62 of the people who were interviewed, but SIGAR blacked out the names of 366 others. Craig Whitlock,, "Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan," 9 Dec. 2019 Another truck took a hit from a bullet that shattered a window in Colusa County — also blacked out — and an irate customer threw eggs at the window of a PG&E office in Oroville (Butte County), the company said. Mallory Moench,, "PG&E workers, families fear public anger amid outages; it’s ‘nerve-racking’," 31 Oct. 2019 The names and conduct of 12 unidentified officers are redacted in the 252-page internal affairs document, 190 pages are all or mostly blacked out. David Debolt, The Mercury News, "Oakland releases partial records from Celeste Guap sex scandal," 26 June 2019 But when Yurkanin submitted a public records request for the INTO contract, UAB blacked out the most important part — the money. al, "UAB’s black box: University hides what it pays vendor," 10 Jan. 2020

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


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1824, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for blackout

Time Traveler

The first known use of blackout was in 1824

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Statistics for blackout

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for blackout


How to pronounce black out (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of blackout

: a period when lights are kept off or are hidden from view to guard against enemy airplane attack in a war
: a period when lights are off because of an electrical power failure
: a sudden and temporary loss of consciousness, vision, or memory


black·​out | \ ˈblak-ˌau̇t How to pronounce blackout (audio) \

Kids Definition of blackout

1 : a period of darkness enforced as a protection against enemy attack by airplanes during a war
2 : a period of darkness caused by power failure
3 : a temporary loss of vision or consciousness


black·​out | \ ˈblak-ˌau̇t How to pronounce blackout (audio) \

Medical Definition of blackout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a transient dulling or loss of vision, consciousness, or memory an alcoholic blackout — compare grayout, redout
\ (ˈ)blak-ˈau̇t How to pronounce black out (audio) \

Medical Definition of black out (Entry 2 of 2)

: to undergo a temporary loss of vision, consciousness, or memory (as from temporary impairment of cerebral circulation, retinal anoxia, a traumatic emotional blow, or an alcoholic binge) — compare gray out, red out

transitive verb

: to cause to black out

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More from Merriam-Webster on blackout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blackout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blackout

Spanish Central: Translation of blackout

Nglish: Translation of blackout for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about blackout

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