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

1 : to put ink on ink a pen also : to draw or write on in ink
2a : sign sense 2a inked a new contract

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Other Words from ink


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

Synonyms for ink

Synonyms: Verb

autograph, sign, subscribe

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Examples of ink in a Sentence


Fill out the form using blue or black ink. The printer is out of ink. We're using four different inks for this poster.


They just inked a new partnership agreement. the basketball star just inked a two-year contract with the most celebrated franchise in the NBA
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From the start, Ditko seemed to be drawn to noirish artists who filled the page with black ink to capture the shadowy underworld. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, is dead.," 7 July 2018 As history would indicate, stars thoroughly enjoy solidifying their love for one another in the form of permanent ink, with little regard for the inevitable removal process. Samantha Sasso,, "Wait, When Did Pete Davidson Cover Up His Cazzie David Tattoo?," 12 June 2018 Spies in the Revolutionary War used acidic liquids like lime juice to create patterns in paper fibers that would become visible when exposed to heat, and sometimes even more sophisticated inks with special decoding solutions. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Clever Technique Can Hide Secret Messages in the Most Unassuming Text," 10 Apr. 2018 The ink on the 25-year naming deal had only had a couple of years to dry before the bank was snapped up by regional peer BB&T BBT 1.93% in the largest U.S. bank merger since the financial crisis. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "The Stadium Reverse Curse," 15 Feb. 2019 Sponge and blot; then watch as the ink releases from the fabric. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Only True Sticklers for Cleanliness Will Be Able to Pass This Stain Removal Quiz," 15 Nov. 2018 Amanda Fiske, 25, got the ink on her neck about a year ago. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Woman's meaningful neck tattoo turns out to be oddly similar to Toronto Blue Jays logo," 2 Oct. 2018 Next year, lay the old sheets out along with the new one for everyone to look back on and remember Thanksgivings past, like a time capsule in ink and paper. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "12 Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas for the Best Holiday Ever," 28 Aug. 2018 The book’s guardian — always an asylum seeker — scrawls each person’s name and country of origin in blue ink. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: How a mysterious notebook is the key to seeking asylum," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Last week, WeChat parent Tencent also inked a deal with Shangri-La, so more hotel locations with these in-app capabilities are expected to open soon. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "A WeChat-powered hotel in China lets you check in, enter your room, and get breakfast through your phone," 21 Nov. 2018 Saudi officials inked an agreement in late August with Olson, a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to fight bipartisan legislation that would allow the U.S. to bring lawsuits against OPEC members for antitrust violations. Richard Lardner, The Seattle Times, "Saudis have a $6 million lobbying payroll despite departures," 16 Oct. 2018 Pacheco allegedly showed officers a tattoo of the number 13 on the back of his hand, a teardrop inking on his face as well as a number of other permanent markings on his body. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Alleged MS-13 member asks court to reverse deportation because he's afraid his tattoos will get him killed," 27 Sep. 2018 The news is now officially official, though, thanks to a line in a story from The Hollywood Reporter about Paramount and Netflix inking a partnership deal. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Everything We Know About the To All the Boys I've Loved Before Sequel," 27 Nov. 2018 Meredith Corporation inked a deal with the Gaineses in 2016 to publish the Magnolia Journal, and the magazine has been a runaway hit, selling out and going into additional print runs. Laura Fenton, Curbed, "How the ‘modern farmhouse’ look took over," 21 Nov. 2018 Barack Obama and his wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, previously made news in May when then inked a deal with Netflix to produce a set of films and series for the streaming service. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Here's What Barack Obama Is Doing Now," 16 July 2018 After getting inked, Morata went on to end his run of 13 games without a goal with a cool finish past Kasper Schmeichel in Chelsea's 2-1 FA Cup quarter final victory over Leicester., "REVEALED: The Unusual Lengths Alvaro Morata Went to in Order to Break Goalless Streak," 26 Mar. 2018 It was also renewed for another season after star Mark Harmon inked what sources say is a new two-year deal. Jennifer Konerman, The Hollywood Reporter, "After 'NCIS' Exit, Pauley Perrette Says She Endured "Multiple Physical Assaults"," 14 May 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for ink

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ink

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

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More Definitions for ink



English Language Learners Definition of ink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: colored liquid that is used for writing or printing
US slang : public attention
biology : the black liquid that is used by some sea creatures for protection



English Language Learners Definition of ink (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put ink on (something)
: to sign (a document) to show that you accept or agree with what is written on it
: to hire (someone) to do something by having that person sign a contract


\ ˈiŋk How to pronounce ink (audio) \

Kids Definition of ink

: a liquid material used for writing or printing

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More from Merriam-Webster on ink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ink

Spanish Central: Translation of ink

Nglish: Translation of ink for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on ink

What made you want to look up ink? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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