black·out | \ˈblak-ˌau̇t \

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


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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Synonyms & Antonyms for blackout

Synonyms: Noun

faint, insensibility, knockout, swim, swoon, syncope

Synonyms: Verb

blacken, close in, darken, dusk

Antonyms: Verb

brighten, light, lighten

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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

The team has installed blackout blinds to minimize disruption. James Ellingworth And Angela Charlton, Fox News, "St. Petersburg's white nights light up fans' World Cup," 22 June 2018 Legendary Entertainment and Universal's action thriller has locked down a July 20 date, securing a spot right in the midst of Beijing's summer blackout on imported Hollywood fare. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "What Matters in Hollywood Today," 27 June 2018 More: Puerto Rico just lost power yet again in total blackoutThe study's total would make Maria the second most deadly hurricane in U.S. history. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Maria killed more than 4,600 people, not 64. That’s more than 70 times the official estimate.," 29 May 2018 The Summer Camp Package is available through Labor Day (with blackout dates during U.S. Open of Surfing), and rates start at $429/night. Marie Salcido, Sunset, "Meet the Luxury Adult Summer Camp of Our Dreams," 22 Jan. 2018 Hotel accommodations are at Sponsor's discretion, subject to availability, and blackout dates may apply. Woman's Day, "Lakeway Resort and Spa, Lakeway, TX Getaway Giveaway," 2 June 2017 The special fares from Boston must be purchased by Friday and are good for Saturday flights between Nov. 10 and Feb. 9, 2019, with blackout dates around the Christmas holidays. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "JetBlue will add Boston-Havana route in November," 27 June 2018 Because the result of the campaign contribution during a blackout period from the council member’s perspective, the contribution needs to be returned. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "Council debates its own transparency," 13 June 2018 The three-day sale features one-way fares of $49, $79, $99 and $129 for travel between Aug. 21 and Dec. 12, excluding blackout dates. Dawn Gilbertson, azcentral, "Southwest Airlines 3-day fall fare sale: Flights from $49," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new one, dated June 11, blacks out some details, including times that family members, witnesses and media may arrive at Ely State Prison, 250 miles (402 kilometers) north of Las Vegas. Ken Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Nevada switches drug to be used in 1st execution since 2006," 3 July 2018 Names have been bleeped from audio and blacked out on documents. Ken Ritter, Fox News, "Police release more video from officers at Vegas shooting," 13 June 2018 The video shows Merkley was made to wait at the door, which had its glass panes blacked out, while an employee tried to track down a supervisor. Jeff Manning,, "Jeff Merkley, White House exchange jabs over migrant children detainees," 4 June 2018 Such jury rigged arrangement is a safety code violation virtually guaranteed to leave the neighborhood blacked out in a future hurricane. Michael Weissenstein,, "Puerto Rico grid 'teetering' despite $3.8 billion repair job," 30 May 2018 This time, Mock allegedly pulled a small handgun on the victim upon which the victim momentarily blacked out from fear, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Howard Cohen And Johanna A. Álvarez, miamiherald, "Publix shopper leaves her cart unattended. Pulling a gun was her next mistake. | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018 But after returning to France, Bourdain blacked out from taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine on an empty stomach. Hillel Italie,, "Anthony Bourdain suicide a reminder of celebrities' distance from us," 8 June 2018 So to get even with Britain’s rule, Last Week Tonight replaced the part of their show in the UK with five minutes of actor Gilbert Gottfried reading three-star Yelp reviews of restaurants in Boise, Idaho, to prevent being blacked out. Kelsey Grey, idahostatesman, "Boise restaurants got a shout-out on this late-night talk show. Here's why.," 11 June 2018 To black out and not remember driving your car into the river...? Steve Annear,, "Chicopee police pull Mercedes from river — 3 months after driver ‘blacked out,’ forgot where he left it," 9 July 2018

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 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \

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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