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
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 incarefully inked in the letters
c : to obliterate with ink usually used with outinked 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 inkiness (audio) \ noun
inky \ ˈiŋ-​kē How to pronounce inky (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 The suit says people's signatures may not match for many good reasons, including age, illness, injury, medication, pen type, ink, writing surface or position, paper quality or psychological factors. David Eggert, Detroit Free Press, "Lawsuit opposes signature check of absentee ballots in battleground Michigan," 31 Oct. 2019 The ink had scarcely dried on Walmart’s cheque before the government radically changed the e-commerce rules that had underpinned Walmart’s decision to invest. The Economist, "EconomyA downturn in India reveals the desperate need for deeper reform," 24 Oct. 2019 Silva’s starting ramen menu includes tonkotsu with pork belly and squid ink, chicken tori ramen and yasai vegetable ramen with fried cauliflower. Josie Sexton, The Know, "Infinite Monkey Theorem is closing its Stanley Marketplace taproom," 22 Oct. 2019 The background was ink black; the lander’s lights illuminated the foreground. Susan Casey, Outside Online, "One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean," 22 Oct. 2019 Though Silver was commissioner when the ink was signed on the 2015 Tencent deal and has overseen an expansion of exhibition games in China, his predecessor, David Stern, is largely credited with laying the groundwork to securing the Chinese market. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "China's love for the NBA runs deep. But the Rockets scandal is forcing fans to choose between sport and country," 8 Oct. 2019 PCBs were sold widely to industrial and manufacturing customers, as well as the federal government, for uses that included paints, inks, and electrical equipment until they were banned in 1979. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii,, "Baltimore County to sue Monsanto for alleged water contamination," 7 Oct. 2019 Because the ink used metals, Seales was able to detect the writing. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Light Billions of Times Brighter Than the Sun Used to Read Charred Scrolls From Herculaneum," 4 Oct. 2019 As an artist, Ms. Caland moved freely among oils, ink, sculptures and textiles, between representational figures, abstractions and line drawings. New York Times, "Huguette Caland, 88, Dies; Celebrated Freedom in Art and Life," 30 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Converse was keen to ink him, but would only commit to scrawling Jordan’s name on a pair of cookie-cutter kicks. Harley Finkelstein, Quartz, "Influencers are changing the face of commerce for good," 15 Oct. 2019 The two presidents were originally scheduled to ink the document in Warsaw earlier this month during a visit by Trump for events to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II. Washington Post, "The Latest: Trump slights climate change summit at UN," 24 Sep. 2019 The pair even appears to have inked their love with tattoos referencing each other. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Cara Delevingne Opened Up About How Dating Ashley Benson Has Changed Her," 15 Sep. 2019 In addition, most of the new apartment complexes are offering deals to residents willing to ink a lease. J.k. Dineen,, "Oakland dominates SF in housing production," 12 Aug. 2019 Detroit Free Press The handshakes are over, and now the hard work begins for negotiators trying to ink new contracts between the UAW and General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "GM, FCA formally launch UAW contract talks," 16 July 2019 The Texans placed the franchise tag on Clowney in March, and were unable to ink a long-term deal by the deadline on Monday, which means the Texans’ star will play on the tag. Henry Mckenna, For The Win, "Why Jadeveon Clowney, Texans may battle over $1.7 million," 16 July 2019 Missy stared down at her forearm, where her twin’s name was now inked beside a massive rose. Jessica Contrera, Washington Post, "She and her twin were inseparable. Then a gunman tore the 15-year-olds apart.," 8 Sep. 2019 The Bucks officially re-signed Brook Lopez on Saturday and will soon add his twin brother, Robin, in a signing that will soon be inked. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reports: Thanasis Antetokounmpo to sign two-year deal with Bucks," 7 July 2019

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

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ink

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

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More Definitions for ink


How to pronounce ink (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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concealed or difficult to comprehend

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