noun, often attributive
\ ˈiŋk How to pronounce ink (audio) \

Definition of ink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a colored usually liquid material for writing and printing
2 : the black protective secretion of a cephalopod
3 slang : publicity sense 2d
4 informal : one or more tattoos on a person's body Whether or not it's your cup of meat, the proliferation of body-art mags suggests that a slew of folks have ink, and they didn't get it from reading the newspaper.— Albert Mobilio


inked; inking; inks

Definition of ink (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to put ink on ink a pen ink a printing block
b : to draw or write in ink ink a design often used with in carefully inked in the letters
c : to obliterate with ink usually used with out inked out many lines
2 US, informal
a : to affix one's signature to : sign sense 2a an athlete who has inked a new contract
b : to engage or hire by securing the signature of (someone) on a contract : sign sense 4 … has been inked to do the part of a judge in an HBO special …— Marge Crumbaker
3 informal : tattoo … got himself an elaborate tattoo, his first, inked along his right shoulder …— S. L. Price Kaufman plans on inking a tat to memorialize his accident.— Micah Abrams His heavily muscled arms are inked shoulder to wrist.— Eve Conant

Other Words from ink


inkiness \ ˈiŋ-​kē-​nəs How to pronounce ink (audio) \ noun
inky \ ˈiŋ-​kē How to pronounce ink (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for ink

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of ink in a Sentence

Noun Fill out the form using blue or black ink. The printer is out of ink. We're using four different inks for this poster. Verb They just inked a new partnership agreement. the basketball star just inked a two-year contract with the most celebrated franchise in the NBA
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The ground is loaded with ink, heavy metals, and petroleum products, all of which must be cleaned up. Yvonne Abraham,, 1 Oct. 2022 Kindle, the older one, is for e-ink tablets that until now focused on a very narrow use case: reading. Chris Velazco, Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2022 The Kindle Scribe will compete with pen-compatible e-ink devices like the ReMarkable 2, which is about the same size as the Scribe. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 28 Sep. 2022 Dishes like cuttle-ink risotto with generous chunks of lobster and Nantucket Bay scallop crudo with Persian cucumbers lift the menu above the merely canonical. New York Times, 19 Sep. 2022 Max showed off the ink — an exclamation point with two dots on their middle fingers — via Instagram in March. Shafiq Najib, Peoplemag, 1 Sep. 2022 Fancy fonts, tables, columns, text boxes, colored ink, graphics, charts, headers, and footers are often unable to be read by most of the Applicant Tracking Systems employers use. Robin Ryan, Forbes, 9 Aug. 2022 There are a lot of great products on the market formulated specifically to preserve ink, including Holbech's favorite, Sorry Mom Original Tattoo Balm. Emily Rekstis, Allure, 9 Aug. 2022 Candles are also packaged in materials made from recycled shoeboxes, with seaweed-ink printing for boxes and labels. Rachel King, Fortune, 7 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gail Golec, who lost her bid for a seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, told followers that ink from the county pens could not be trusted. Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic, 5 Aug. 2022 The size of the deal wasn’t disclosed, but Brunson is among a handful of Black talent to ink such an agreement. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 12 Aug. 2022 Pompeo has continued to ink new deals to return to the Shonda Rhimes drama but has also been vocal about the show’s endgame. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Aug. 2022 The series was poised to end with season eight, but both the network and studio were able to ink leading man Gustin and co-stars including Candice Patton to new deals. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Aug. 2022 Any front office in a position to take a risk may be willing to ink the forward to a contract, but negotiating with so many factors at play could be challenging. Tony East, Forbes, 20 June 2022 Sweeney will try to ink him to a deal of 5-8 years, at least at the same value as Charlie McAvoy ($9.5 million). Globe Staff,, 16 May 2022 State corrections officials are looking to launch a prison tattoo program in hopes of curbing bloodborne diseases as inmates ink themselves with homemade tools. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 18 Apr. 2022 Paolo Banchero lifted the right sleeve of his black hooded sweatshirt to point out the green tattoo ink on his forearm. New York Times, 23 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ink


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1562, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ink


Middle English enke, from Anglo-French encre, enke, from Late Latin encaustum, from neuter of Latin encaustus burned in, from Greek enkaustos, verbal of enkaiein to burn in — more at encaustic

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best printers.

Learn More About ink

Time Traveler for ink

Time Traveler

The first known use of ink was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ink

Last Updated

4 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ink


\ ˈiŋk How to pronounce ink (audio) \

Kids Definition of ink

: a liquid material used for writing or printing

More from Merriam-Webster on ink

Nglish: Translation of ink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ink for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ink


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!