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

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Examples of blackout in a Sentence


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.


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

In July, Econet generators failed to kick in after a power outage forcing a mobile money blackout for a day. Farai Shawn Matiashe, Quartz Africa, "Zimbabwe turns to Tesla batteries to keep its top mobile money player running as a power crisis deepens," 13 Sep. 2019 Financial consultants have estimated that a severe blackout could cost Sonoma County’s economy as much as $35 million in the first 24 hours. Shwanika Narayan,, "‘Nothing we can do’: Dark prospects for businesses with PG&E shut-offs," 31 Aug. 2019 In June, Cloud organized a media blackout in protest of recent shootings, calling on Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White and Mayor Muriel Bowser to address the issue. Grace Segers, CBS News, "WNBA player Natasha Cloud talks about how she's addressing gun violence," 30 Aug. 2019 Equipment failure caused a five-hour blackout in Manhattan on July 13 that affected 40 blocks from Times Square to Rockefeller Center, Con Edison has said. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Thousands in Brooklyn still in dark as New York City deals with another power outage," 22 July 2019 Despite there being a massive blackout in New York City that temporarily interrupted Midtown Manhattan’s electricity, the superstar parents still ensured that the festivities were still as lit as could be. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Inside Cardi B And Offset's Epic 1st Birthday Party For Kulture," 15 July 2019 Two poacher's goals in the first half didn't exactly slow down the hype train and not even a Twitter blackout could stop the love in... This guy gets it..., "Liverpool Twitter Goes Nuts for Rhian Brewster as Liverpool Kick Off Pre-Season With Big Win," 11 July 2019 When media attention and misconceptions became too much, the riot grrrls declared a media blackout. Lisawhill, Longreads, "Live Through This: Courtney Love at 55," 9 July 2019 That leaves large parts of the country in a data blackout. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Meat-Allergy Tick Also Carries a Mystery Killer Virus," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The filing is also heavily redacted, with large portions blacked out. Dana Hullbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "Elon Musk says he was involved in SolarCity discussions prior to Tesla merger," 9 Sep. 2019 The filing is also heavily redacted, with large portions blacked out. Fortune, "Tesla CEO Elon Musk Answers SolarCity Investors Who Say He Was a ‘Conflicted’ Fiduciary," 9 Sep. 2019 The Enquirer requested documents and emails connected to these negotiations and received 275 pages that had been almost completely blacked out. Scott Wartman,, "Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley wants answers before music venue at the Banks can move forward," 22 Aug. 2019 The 16-year-old suffered loss of hair, a contusion and blacked out after being slammed to the ground then suffered puncture marks from the dog bites. Christopher Harress |,, "Racial harassment, violence, dog attack alleged in $25 million Mobile mall lawsuit," 1 July 2019 About 80% of Nova Scotia’s homes and businesses were blacked out — the highest in the company’s history. Washington Post, "Dorian lashes east Canada, then weakens heading out to sea," 10 Sep. 2019 About 80% of Nova Scotia's homes and businesses were blacked out — the highest in the company's history., "Dorian knocks out power to hundreds of thousands in Canada," 8 Sep. 2019 The channel has been blacked out on those systems since July 17 due to a dispute over programming fees. Ron Hurtibise,, "Getting an outdoor antenna to pull in blacked-out CBS? You could create a fire hazard.," 2 Aug. 2019 More: Detroit Lions may be blacked out on TV again for some viewers. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions rookie LB Jahlani Tavai opens camp with first-team defense," 25 July 2019

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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Statistics for blackout

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blackout

The first known use of blackout was in 1824

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on blackout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blackout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blackout

Spanish Central: Translation of blackout

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

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