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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead, Kendall took on the persona of gothic power-b*tch, wearing a super-sheer lace dress, a pair of ass-kicking boots, and an ink-black wig (note the matching brows, plz). Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, 21 July 2021 Much ink is spilled on women’s subordination in contemporary domestic-advice manuals. Marc M. Arkin, WSJ, 20 July 2021 Much journalistic ink was spilled over the tragedy. Judith Koll Healey, Star Tribune, 15 July 2021 Over the course of the pandemic, much ink was spilled weighing the uncertain future of the tie, the tuxedo and anything tailored. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 13 July 2021 That’s because that Sunday was also the finals of the Eastern High School Ski Championships and there was no way Taylor wasn’t going to fight to get a little ink for those kids., 13 July 2021 But the show includes pieces by other notables who squeegeed ink across silk-screens at Workshop Inc., the studio Stovall founded in 1968. Washington Post, 9 July 2021 Pouring the mixture of resin and ink is a complicated chemical process that can be dangerous if not done correctly. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, 9 July 2021 Hundreds of protesters besieged the Central Liaison Office, China’s primary arm in Hong Kong, and splattered black ink on the red-and-gold Chinese national emblem over the entrance. New York Times, 28 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Lordstown debacle was precipitated by premature hype, immature technology, and a SPAC whose leader was under immense pressure to ink a deal but had little expertise with the clean-tech sector. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 22 July 2021 Defensive lineman Christian Barmore was the final rookie to ink his contract, doing so on Wednesday., 21 July 2021 Together, the scientists and artists are showing that the urge to ink our bodies is deeply rooted in the human psyche, spanning the globe and speaking across centuries. New York Times, 5 July 2021 Another fun fact: Many of the original signers didn’t ink their names on the Declaration of Independence until Aug. 2, 1776. Editors, USA TODAY, 3 July 2021 Besides the United Kingdom, all have yet to ink a new deal for participation in Horizon Europe, although different countries associate on different terms, and some—such as Norway—are more or less guaranteed to be included. Nicholas Wallace, Science | AAAS, 16 June 2021 Tampa Bay signed the shortstop for $3.825 million on July 2, 2017, the earliest a team could ink Franco. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 22 June 2021 Buffalo can ink Dahlin to an extended term, but only if Dahlin wants to lock himself in with the Sabres for the long haul. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, 17 June 2021 Earlier in her career, Chase made history as the first Black woman to ink an overall deal with a major production studio. Washington Post, 21 May 2021

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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Learn More About ink

Time Traveler for ink

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ink

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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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

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


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