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

Matt Damon is showing off his love for his children with some new ink! Ashley Boucher,, "Matt Damon Gets Permanent Tribute to His Daughters — 4 New Tattoos!," 5 Aug. 2019 Emil Guillermo of NBC News reports that Toy used to scribble out the negative coverage with black ink. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Remembering Dorothy Toy, a Dazzling Asian-American Tap Dance Star," 5 Aug. 2019 Now, Whole Foods prints signs with black ink on paper in a font that resembles handwriting but requires less labor. Karen Weise, New York Times, "Why Whole Foods Hasn’t Satisfied Amazon’s Grocery Appetite," 28 July 2019 Here's what's going on: While in New York City last week, Benson visited Jon Boy Tattoo, tattooer to the stars, for some new ink. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Fans Think Ashley Benson’s New “CD” Tattoo Confirms Her Relationship With Cara Delevingne," 24 July 2019 Shawn even posted a video of him getting that tattoo done on Sunday afternoon and seemed to be excited about the new ink. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Shawn Mendes Just Got a Brand New Tattoo Thanks to a Fan Edit," 22 July 2019 China’s national emblem, which adorns the front of the Liaison Office, was splattered with black ink. Washington Post, "The Latest: Clashes involving Hong Kong protests get violent," 22 July 2019 In addition to getting some brand-new ink, Demi has been living her best life lately while on vacation in Bora Bora. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Demi Lovato Debuts Tattoo of Her Great-Grandmother," 18 May 2019 Taking to Instagram to reveal the new ink to her 135million followers, Kylie showed off her latest tatt in the collection—a tiny ‘Stormi’ inked in uppercase on the back of her left arm. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Got the Sweetest Tiny Tattoo Dedicated to Her Daughter, Stormi," 17 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Wishes were inked with silver Sharpies in the center’s central hall, which was decorated with photos of Pittsburgh’s paragon of kindness, Fred Rogers. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "A club no one wants to join: How Pittsburgh is reaching out to comfort El Paso and Dayton," 8 Aug. 2019 The Denver resident is proudly inked with two Broncos tattoos and believes Joe Flacco will be the team’s answer at quarterback. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos Stadium training camp practice draws more than 21,000 fans," 27 July 2019 Still, the filmmaker now becomes a unicorn among Hollywood directors given that the Once Upon a Time deal was inked with one of the major studios as opposed to an independent. Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Quentin Tarantino Scored Rare Ownership Deal With 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'," 23 July 2019 In a perfect scenario, someone with a 3-and-D profile, who won’t threaten to take valuable minutes from other core youngsters, would be inked with the last spot. Chris Fedor,, "John Beilein still getting used to NBA and other observations from Cleveland Cavaliers summer league," 2 July 2019 And while the $1 billion, 12-year deal the AAC just inked with ESPN is nothing to laugh at, the annual payment of about $7 million for UConn just isn’t close enough to what the Power Five conference teams receive. Dan Brechlin,, "Why is UConn headed to the Big East and at what cost? Here’s what we know and don’t know," 24 June 2019 Petco shoppers soon can opt to see exactly what goes into their pet's meals thanks to a new deal the retailer has inked with JustFoodForDogs, a Southern California purveyor of human-quality pet food. Jennifer Van Grove,, "What is your dog eating? Petco will show you with in-store kitchens," 19 May 2018 Petco shoppers can soon opt to see exactly what goes into their fur babies meals thanks to a new deal the pet retailer has inked with JustFoodForDogs, a Southern California purveyor of human-quality pet food. Jennifer Van Grove,, "What is Fido eating? Petco will show you with in-store kitchens," 17 May 2018 Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, struck first in Liberia, inking a deal in 2010 with Oranto for three deep-water blocks. James V. Grimaldi, WSJ, "How Tillerson’s Exxon Designed an Oil Deal to Skirt Anticorruption Scrutiny," 29 Mar. 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

11 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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