noun, often attributive
\ ˈiŋk \

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

b : sign sense 4

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Other words from ink


inkiness \ˈiŋ-kē-nəs \ noun
inky \ˈiŋ-kē \ 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

Both parties signed the form and put their fingerprints on it, dipping their index fingers into bright purple ink, a gesture that aped one of the bureaucratic procedures of the Iraqi government. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, "The Case of the Purloined Poultry: How ISIS Prosecuted Petty Crime," 1 July 2018 Approximately 250 yards across the canyon, a group of wild hogs — some black as ink, others blonde with brown spots and nearly impossible to spot in the dry grass — meandered through the brush. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Wild pigs cause millions in damages in California. But hunting them could become easier," 25 June 2018 His materials — ink, graphite, wax crayon, watercolor, and colored pencil on illustration board and paper — remain the same. Edith Newhall,, "In Philly galleries now: Jane Irish, Anthony Campuzano, more must-see art," 19 Apr. 2018 So much ink, on this website and others, has been spilled over the new-look Raptors. Rohan Nadkarni,, "NBA Playoffs 2018: The Most Intriguing Storylines in the East's First Round," 13 Apr. 2018 The ink on the post-All-Star break pitching rotation hasn’t quite dried yet. Katherine Fominykh,, "Orioles notes: Chris Tillman a possibility for Sunday start against Rangers," 14 July 2018 There were nights out with rapper Drake, courtside seats at NBA games and scores of painful ink sessions to complete a pair of full leg sleeves that run hip to ankle. Jamie Lisanti,, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 Endless ink has been spilled moralizing the withdrawal into these digital cocoons. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 Accommodations follow the retro aesthetic with Rorschach ink blot carpeting and wall-size historic maps inspired by life on the road. Necee Regis,, "Here, there, and everywhere," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On June 21, celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy (who has also inked Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Ashley Graham, among others) Instagrammed an image of the couple embraced in a half-hug, showing off their new matching tattoos. Helena Yeung, Teen Vogue, "Noah Cyrus and Boyfriend Tanner Drayton Get Matching JonBoy Couple Tattoos," 21 June 2018 On Wednesday, Fanatics inked another deal, as the National Football Leage announced a product licensing deal allowing the retailor to make NFL fan jerseys. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Nike - not Under Armour - will supply MLB uniforms, report says," 24 May 2018 Allow Windows to recognize when users are inking math, a flowchart, or a table. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "How Microsoft's Windows ML machine learning could help apps anticipate your needs," 8 May 2018 In the meantime, Cambridge inked deals with the presidential campaigns of Carson, now the secretary of housing and urban development, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, according to Federal Election Commission data and campaign operatives. Maeve Reston, CNN, "Inside the Trump campaign's ties with Cambridge Analytica," 21 Mar. 2018 While the Timbers appear close to inking Armenteros to a contract, a source told the Oregonian/OregonLive that no deal is yet in place. Jamie Goldberg,, "Swedish forward Samuel Armenteros arrives in Portland for medical exam with Timbers," 7 Feb. 2018 Alabama inked 15 in the first early signing period in December. Michael Casagrande,, "Why Alabama's run of 7 straight No. 1 recruiting classes is in serious trouble," 5 Feb. 2018 Kreuzpaintner recently inked a deal with Amazon Prime in Germany for Beat, an original Amazon series set in the Berlin club scene of the 1990s. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Constantin Film Greenlights Courtroom Thriller 'The Collini Case'," 13 July 2018 Learn about every aspect of production, including writing, penciling, inking, coloring, lettering, editing, and more, with creators on hand to offer personal insights and anecdotes. Phillip Molnar,, "Comic-Con 2018: Here's your Thursday schedule," 6 July 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

22 Sep 2018

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

: 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 \

Kids Definition of ink

: a liquid material used for writing or printing

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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 deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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