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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Trump is a political octopus, squirting so much diversionary black ink at us that diversion is the new normal. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Forget “No Collusion,” Trump Is Now Pro-Collusion," 14 June 2019 Start with Tartara di Tonno, made from fresh Florida tuna, avocado mousse, rhubarb gel and a squid-ink crisp. Holly V. Kapherr, USA TODAY, "7 romantic ways to reconnect in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades," 4 June 2019 Meaning, in addition to using recycled paper boxes, plastic bottles, and glass jars, Primera prints all product information directly on the box (in enviro-friendly soy ink) to reduce waste. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, "AmorePacific's Primera Skin-Care Brand Is Launching at Sephora This Summer," 21 May 2019 The work entails arduous journeys by train, road, helicopter and boat, accompanied by porters who carry the briefcase-sized voting machines, registers, ink and other election paraphernalia on their backs. Amrit Dhillon, The Seattle Times, "Poll workers journey to reach India’s most remote voters," 14 Apr. 2019 Some ink manufacturers post Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) online that include product ingredients, potential hazards, and toxicological and regulatory information. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "9 Smart Questions to Ask Before Getting a Tattoo," 9 Nov. 2018 For their May 19 wedding last year, for example, the invitations were printed by a British company with American ink. Vogue, "How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle May Put an American Spin on Royal Parenthood," 19 Apr. 2019 Over the past couple of months, both Davidson and Grande have been spotted with new ink on their fingers, necks, arms, and hands — all of which seem to hold a special or secret meaning., "Ariana Grande's Custom Pete Davidson Merch Is 100% The Most," 29 June 2018 This one’s a slam dunk and checks off the familiarity box with permanent ink. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Predicting NFL coaching hires for Detroit Lions and other open jobs," 4 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brazil then tried to move forward by inking a deal with Ukraine to launch from the spaceport, but the deal fell apart. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Can the U.S. Save Alcantara, Brazil’s Cursed Spaceport?," 20 Mar. 2019 The Coyotes inked Raanta to a three-year, $4.25 million extension back in April, and The Republic reported on June 11 that the team and Ekman-Larsson had also reached an agreement on a contract extension. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson reach agreement on contract extension," 23 June 2018 The actress has inked a contract with skin-care brand Obagi, and is now serving as the 30-year-old brand's first-ever global ambassador. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Priyanka Chopra Is the New Face of Obagi Skin Care," 8 May 2019 Copeland Commercial and Hillwood have inked a deal with Frameworks to fill the final open space in Interstate Commerce Center in north Houston, and will soon break ground on a second phase of the project near FM 1960 and Interstate 45. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Frameworks lease kicks off next phase north Houston industrial park," 21 June 2018 The remaining countries of the group have recently inked multiple deals among themselves that have left American exporters at a disadvantage in their markets. New York Times, "Trump Upends Global Trade Order Built by U.S.," 10 June 2018 Viacom, in an effort led by CEO Bob Bakish, has inked multiyear deals with both Tyler Perry and Trevor Noah that encompass TV, film and shortform video. Bryn Elise Sandberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "TV’s Arms Race for Talent Is Blowing Up Traditional Studio Deals," 24 May 2018 Taboola has inked a deal with Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE Corp. to incorporate a new feature that displays Taboola’s recommended links on some of its phones, the companies announced Wednesday. Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "Taboola Signs Deal With ZTE to Create Android Rival to Apple News," 4 Apr. 2018 Chipmaker Qualcomm has inked memorandums of understanding for sales totaling at least $2 billion with leading Chinese phone makers such as Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. Clay Chandler, Fortune, "Trump, China and Armageddon," 27 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ink

Statistics for ink

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ink

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!