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

Due to their sheerer nature, curtains are less effective at blocking out light, which is why people tend to pair them with blinds or shades, or use them in spaces that don't require a blackout effect. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Drapes or Curtains? Why Choosing the Right Window Treatment Matters," 27 Mar. 2019 By now night had drawn over the desert like a blackout curtain. Guy Trebay, Condé Nast Traveler, "In the Heart of Navajo Lands," 19 Oct. 2018 Saki Oyama, an assistant professor of kinesiology at UTSA, had to install blackout curtains over the windows and doors of her Applied Biomechanics Research Laboratory to prevent onlookers from forming a crowd. Cody Mccrary, San Antonio Express-News, "UTSA laboratory helping local athletes progress, prevent injury," 15 May 2018 Keep indoor and outdoor light out by buying a sleep mask or investing in blackout curtains, which are made of heavier fabric than traditional blinds. Kelly Mickle, Woman's Day, "11 Sleeping Tips To Help You Wake Up in the Best Mood," 4 Aug. 2016 The blackout and the chaos that has ensued is a metaphor for the catastrophe known as Venezuela. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Pressure Mounts in Venezuela," 10 Mar. 2019 The media blackout when William was studying will be a lot more challenging in an era where anyone can take and publish a photograph. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "How the Internet’s Obsession with the Royal Family Turned Toxic," 10 Feb. 2019 Cable blackouts are nothing new in the entertainment world. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Dish customers lose HBO in ongoing distribution dispute," 1 Nov. 2018 There is also a partial internet blackout in the country as hundreds of thousands of websites—many related to the North—are blocked or deleted every year. Binaifer Nowrojee, Time, "Don't Forget the Dark Side of Living in South Korea," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But for annual and monthly members alike, the service has been close to useless since at least mid-July, when MoviePass began blacking out new films seemingly across the board. Nick Statt, The Verge, "MoviePass refunds annual subscribers as it further restricts member benefits," 24 Aug. 2018 The State Department's warnings about Mexico also refer to reports of tainted alcohol at some resorts that have resulted in visitors getting sick or blacking out. Beth J. Harpaz,, "Spring break beyond the beach: Why more travelers opt for active trips," 8 Feb. 2018 But Renk and Fuller said that to release the complaint and investigation to the newspaper, officials would have to black out too much of it. Jason Stein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Details on harassment, discrimination claims against Wisconsin lawmakers released," 10 Jan. 2018 Stephanie revealed in an interview that Grace had been having a headache, and seemed to black out for a moment. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The True Story of Grace Kelly's Death, and Why Rumors Surrounding It Have Been So Persistent," 31 Mar. 2019 Scratch or black out all personal information on empty pill bottles or packaging before throwing them away. Alissa Katz, Good Housekeeping, "How to Dispose of Everything, Including Old Cell Phones, Mattresses, and Batteries," 8 Jan. 2019 Every so often, distributors and content producers will come to an impasse, resulting in channels being blacked out for subscribers while the two corporate monoliths sort things out. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Dish customers lose HBO in ongoing distribution dispute," 1 Nov. 2018 In addition, the 64 pages of records released after a request from The San Diego Union-Tribune are heavily redacted, blacking out names of some of the judges involved in some claims and all details of the allegations that underlay the claims. Greg Moran,, "State court agency has paid more than $800,000 since 2010 to settle legal claims, records show," 5 July 2018 Image The narrator begins to sleep most of the day and sometimes to go on walkabouts while blacked out. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "A Sleeping Beauty Hopes Hibernation Is the Answer to All Life’s Problems," 2 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

13 May 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

Comments on blackout

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using a distributed computer network

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