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 attributively blackout 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tesla’s 100 MW Hornsdale Power Reserve battery project in Australia, installed after a massive blackout in 2016, has outperformed expectations, racking up $88 million in savings and even providing five hours of power during a November 2019 outage. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Warren Buffett’s firm is proposing an $8 billion boondoggle to prevent the next Texas blackout," 1 Apr. 2021 Yet onerous blackout restrictions remain a hurdle for fans accessing teams in their home or nearby markets. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "At 21, Fernando Tatis Jr. already carries the 'Face of Baseball' label, even as MLB aims to diversify the field," 31 Mar. 2021 Those inspections found 59 cases of direct damage to its equipment from vegetation or wind, and another 24 cases of hazards that could have started a fire if there wasn’t a blackout, such as a tree limb found suspended in electrical lines. oregonlive, "Other utilities cut power to reduce Labor Day fire risks. Pacific Power did not. Now it may face the consequences," 28 Mar. 2021 Amid criticism of their handling the border situation, the Biden administration put in place a media blackout at the southern border, citing concerns over COVID-19. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'My father had fixed this problem': Eric Trump says illegal immigration wasn't an issue in last administration," 28 Mar. 2021 Regarding the article about the Fox Sports North streaming fight and Twins President Dave St. Peter's frustration with the issue: Major League Baseball should remove the blackout rule. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Michael Osterholm, downtown safety, watching Minnesota teams," 27 Mar. 2021 Of course, if there had been no Texas blackout crisis, much of that natural gas would have been burned in power plants to supply energy to homes and businesses. New York Times, "Drillers Burned Off Gas at a Staggering Rate as Winter Storm Hit Texas," 26 Mar. 2021 Indeed, the telecom engineers and others reported widespread problems caused by the blackout—A.T.M.s and crucial banking software were freezing, and some text messages became illegible. Doug Bock Clark, The New Yorker, "In Myanmar, A Digital-Savvy Nation Poses a New Challenge for the Military," 2 Mar. 2021 Analysts at the International Energy Agency said Texas’ blackout was 500 times worse than last August’s rolling outages in California. Dallas News, "After the lights went out in Texas for days, will companies keep moving here?," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The statute allows public bodies to black out certain information for privacy reasons, such as the name of a crime victim, but frequent FOIA filers complain that officials often go too far in omitting information. Courtney Kueppers,, "FOIA for beginners: A state law guarantees access to public records. But it isn’t always that easy.," 2 Apr. 2021 Usually, utilities black out certain blocks or zones before cutting off power to another area, then another. David Koenig And Michael Liedtke, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why wasn’t Texas’ power grid prepared for cold weather?," 18 Feb. 2021 Few countries place more restrictions on internet usage than Iran, which uses its centralized control of broadband services to throttle specific sites or black out access altogether. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Security News This Week: Government Demands for Amazon Data Shot Up 800 Percent in 2020," 6 Feb. 2021 Still, none of those things can excuse the fight that took place between the friends-turned-mortal-enemies in episode eight, which saw Samuels quite literally black out and put her hands on Dillard-Bassett. Ineye Komonibo,, "After A Chaotic Season, RHOP‘s Monique Samuels Is Making Her Exit," 28 Dec. 2020 In addition to using the image to describe situations, such as Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's forcing each other to sing bitter songs about each other, the template evolved to black out certain words to create new meanings. NBC News, "Dancing pallbearers, the Mike Pence fly and pretty best friends: Here are the top memes of 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 Her modus operandi is to pretend to black out at a bar and wait for a man to offer to walk her home. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Pop Culture Reckoned With #MeToo in Radical New Ways in 2020—Even as It Receded From Headlines," 22 Dec. 2020 Roku has also tangled this year with Fox Corp. , a dispute that threatened to black out the Super Bowl for millions of streaming viewers, and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, which launched the streamer Peacock this summer. Patience Haggin, WSJ, "Roku Torments Entertainment Giants in Quest to Dominate Streaming," 17 Dec. 2020 When criminal charges are filed against defendants, courts release unredacted versions of the same records police black out. Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, "How Cops Who Use Force and Even Kill Can Hide Their Names From the Public," 31 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of blackout


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1824, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about blackout

Time Traveler for blackout

Time Traveler

The first known use of blackout was in 1824

See more words from the same year

Statistics for blackout

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Blackout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for blackout



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

black out

intransitive verb
\ (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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on blackout

What made you want to look up blackout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!