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

Lyman set out a dried plant specimen, a piece of bristle board, a pencil, and a bottle of ink and with a pen. Leila Mcneill, Smithsonian, "The Botanical Artist Who Translates Plant Science Into Beautiful Art," 10 July 2018 One of Rihanna's most famous pieces of ink includes the Egyptian Goddess Isis done on her sternum — and is often consciously positioned to peek out of her red carpet ensembles., "This Rihanna-Approved Tattoo Trend Is On The Rise — & Perfect For Summer," 28 June 2018 As much attention has been paid in recent years to LeBron James, Tom Brady and the teams at the top, an increasing amount of ink has been spilled on the teams at the bottom too. Mitch Goldich,, "Ringz Culture: Are Championships All That Matter?," 13 June 2018 Now tangled, even crazed, they are further agitated by more active uses of the ink. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Three Artists, Three Arcs, One Gallery," 31 May 2018 Presumably, Clarke is kidding about getting at least some of this ink. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Emilia Clarke Wants a Chewbacca Tattoo—and a Dragon," 23 May 2018 In the 28 years since two men posing as police officers pulled off the brazen heist, stealing 13 works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a lot of ink has been spilled about the unhappy episode. Mark Shanahan,, "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum publishes its own book about 1990 heist," 20 Apr. 2018 And a Hero of Tomorrow develops a new type of ink made from algae. CNN, "CNN 10 - April 12, 2018," 11 Apr. 2018 Or perhaps never had a barrel of ink been more insouciantly allocated. Julia Thiel, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / Environment / Food & Drink / News / Science The 20,000-word article on bees that would forever define the Reader," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With Johnson signing, the Marlins have inked deals with all of their picks in the top 10 rounds. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Marlins’ 17-year old second-round draft choice signs, shows home run power potential," 25 June 2018 Now, father and son have both inked their names in the history books. Christina Capatides, CBS News, "Expedition Antarctica: A father and son's journey to save the planet," 22 June 2018 Besides the growing partnership with FCA for Pacifica minivans, Waymo has also inked an agreement with Jaguar Land Rover for 20,000 I-PACE vehicles. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Waymo will add up to 62,000 FCA minivans to self-driving fleet," 31 May 2018 WASHINGTON - Russia and its nuclear power company, Rosatom, have inked deals this year to develop nuclear plants in Bangladesh, Argentina, Congo and Mongolia. James Osborne, San Antonio Express-News, "Perry fights to keep U.S. nuclear sector alive," 26 Mar. 2018 The Rangers also inked RHP Doug Fister, traded for LHP Matt Moore and signed 44-year-old RHP Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal (Colon has since een released). Jeff Sanders,, "Progress report: Texas Rangers," 25 Mar. 2018 Russia-Iran strategic cooperation over Syria has persisted and the two have inked multiple major trade agreements since the July 2015 nuclear deal, particularly in the energy sector. Sina Toossi, Newsweek, "Trump's Foreign Policy Has Left The Middle East Wide Open To Russia And China—And They're Moving In," 19 Mar. 2018 Members of the Graduate Employees’ Union said in tweets that their bargaining team had inked an agreement with the university’s administration for a new contract, halting pickets in place around buildings on the Main Quad. Dawn Rhodes,, "Grad students, U. of I. reach tentative contract agreement to end strike," 8 Mar. 2018 Samsung had inked a sponsorship agreement with FISA, the international rowing federation, whose head at the time was a voting I.O.C. member. Raymond Zhong And Park Jeong-eun, New York Times, "For Korea Inc., Money and Politics Make an Awkward Olympics," 7 Feb. 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

3 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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