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 attributivelyblackout 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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Particularly frustrating is a realization for many California residents that both fires and the blackouts will return. Thomas Fuller, New York Times, "Trump Stymies California Climate Efforts Even as State Burns," 4 Nov. 2019 But the blackouts are more challenging for older and disabled residents who lack the transportation and money to rush out for ice and groceries, said John Geoghegan, head of the Hamilton Tenant Association. Janie Har, USA TODAY, "Wildfire power shutoffs leave the disabled in darkness and danger: 'You couldn’t see in front of you'," 31 Oct. 2019 The local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, has imposed the blackouts because of worries that its power lines may spark the flames. The Economist, "Politics this week," 31 Oct. 2019 Human rights organisation Amnesty International, too, launched a campaign in September to end the blackout. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "As Jammu & Kashmir loses its political status, here’s what the past 80 days have meant for it," 31 Oct. 2019 More deliberate blackouts are possible in the coming days because of another round of high winds in the forecast., "LOS ANGELES — A wildfire swept through the star-studded hills of Los Angeles early Monday, destroying several large homes and forcing LeBron James and thousands of others to flee in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, a blaze in Northern California wine country exploded in size.," 29 Oct. 2019 The blackouts are already costing Californians billions of dollars. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "The Toxic Bubble of Technical Debt Threatening America," 29 Oct. 2019 The blackout Tuesday was PG&E’s third in a week and the fourth in a month. Don Thompson, The Denver Post, "Frustration mounts as California is hit with more blackouts," 29 Oct. 2019 The Public Utilities Commission plans to open a formal investigation into the blackouts within the next month, allowing regulators to gather evidence and question utility officials. Don Thompson And Jonathan J. Cooper,, "Utility says power lines may have started two California fires that spread across the San Francisco Bay Area," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Roughly 6,700 homes and businesses systemwide remained blacked out as of Thursday evening, PG&E said. Sarah Ravani,, "Kincade Fire: Firefighters make progress; residents, businesses survey damage," 31 Oct. 2019 As the film comes to a close, that final image of a child is blacked out with paint, and the credits run. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Latino artist wins prestigious portrait competition for depiction of a migrant woman," 30 Oct. 2019 Letters to Edith Mayer Cord from her father during WWII that has had parts of the text redacted and blacked out by Nazi officials controlling the flow of information in French citizens letters. Talia Richman,, "Maryland education department plans to enhance Holocaust education," 24 Oct. 2019 The pass grants a year of access to both Legoland and the Legoland Water Park with no black out (or block out) dates. Trevor Fraser,, "Legoland offers a year of two parks for under $12 a month," 18 Oct. 2019 The black out comes just a few months after Fortnite’s first-ever World Cup Finals — a solo, three-day tournament that brought in the top 100 players to compete for $3 million. Claudia Harmata,, "Fortnite Has Vanished — and Fans Have No Idea When or If It Will Return," 14 Oct. 2019 Although though there are plenty of cheap flights available, there are a few restrictions—mainly that travel around Thanksgiving and Christmas is blacked out. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Southwest Airlines’s Sale Has Flights as Low as $49 One-Way," 1 Oct. 2019 The service resorted to raising subscription fees, adding surge pricing, blacking out major film releases, and borrowing $5 million in July 2018 to continue operations after a service interruption prevented users from checking in to see movies. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "MoviePass Finally Shuts Down for Good," 13 Sep. 2019 Now, that extra 345 days included a lot of blacking out information. Doug Lesmerises,, "Urban Meyer could have let Zach Smith go to Alabama .... but otherwise Ohio State documents don’t change much: Doug Lesmerises," 3 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for blackout

Time Traveler

The first known use of blackout was in 1824

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Statistics for blackout

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Blackout.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for blackout


How to pronounce black out (audio)

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
\ (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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blackout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blackout

Spanish Central: Translation of blackout

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

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