\ˌbla-kən-ˈhwīt, -ˈwīt\

Definition of black-and-white 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : partly black and partly white in color

2 : being in writing or print

3 : executed in dark pigment on a light background or in light pigment on a dark ground a black-and-white drawing

4 : monochrome sense 2 black-and-white film black-and-white television

5a : sharply divided into good and evil

b : evaluating or viewing things as either all good or all bad black-and-white morality

c : sharply defined : clear-cut the truth is not always black-and-white


noun (1)

Definition of black-and-white (Entry 2 of 3)

black and white

noun (2)

Definition of black and white (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : writing, print

2 : a drawing or print done in black and white or in monochrome

3 : monochrome reproduction of visual images (as by photography or television)

Examples of black-and-white in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are still no team colors, with unnamed Miami MLS still toiling out black and white in the interim. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "David Beckham’s saw first-hand the mixed emotions about his proposed Miami MLS plan," 12 July 2018 Even Wade's costume, singed to look black and white for the entire final scene, echoed the outfit his comics counterpart wore during his first official X-Force title. Meg Downey, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Potential of the Expanding 'Deadpool' Universe," 22 May 2018 Yet the polarization is not as black and white as in the original. Philip Brandes,, "Jane Anderson gives her 'Baby Dance' some smart new steps," 11 May 2018 To the black and white photos on display in Volterra of the Italians who guarded the Etruscan Arch from the Nazis. Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Guided bike trip through hills of Tuscany offers unforgettable vistas and lessons," 10 July 2018 There were no digital archives back then, mostly black and white photos. Jeremy Fuchs,, "A Tour of Sports Movie Memorabilia Heaven," 6 July 2018 Once again, the Portrait Display makes a big difference here, being able to display many Web pages in full and in (relatively) high resolution, if only still in black and white. Chris Wilkinson, Ars Technica, "1990, meet 2018: How far does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi power go today?," 1 July 2018 The Los Angeles photographer retraces her father’s footsteps through eight concentrations camps — capturing the spaces that shaped his life in stark black and white. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Datebook: The force of fashion photos, underwater montages and Washington, D.C., feminized," 28 June 2018 Changing the display to black and white is very easy. Rob Tutton,, "The Surprisingly Easy Trick That Can Help You Use Your Phone a Little Bit Less," 14 June 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1958, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for black-and-white

Noun (1)

from a common color scheme for such cars

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The first known use of black-and-white was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of black-and-white

: partly black and partly white in color

: having, showing, or producing pictures that do not have colors except for black, white, and shades of gray

: involving a simple choice between things that are clearly opposite and especially between good and bad or right and wrong

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a private place of worship

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