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 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 Now, armed with paper, ink, and stamps, supported by an army of postal workers whose jobs are at risk, Mary and I are getting acquainted the old-fashioned way. Lauren Maxwell, Glamour, "Feeling Lonely? Write a Letter to a Perfect Stranger," 5 Jan. 2021 Each box contains pens, ink, paper, projects, ideas, and inspiration for anyone who loves to put thoughts — visual or literal — down on paper. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Stumped on what to get this season? These subscriptions gifts offer perfect fix," 22 Dec. 2020 After graduating from Eastchester High School and the Cartoonist and Illustrators School (now known as SVA) in Manhattan, Crane landed a job in the ink and paint department at Terrytoons, located in New Rochelle, New York. Mike Barnes, Billboard, "Doug Crane, 'Heavy Metal' and 'Beavis and Butt-Head' Animator, Dies at 85," 21 Dec. 2020 But even cargo-only flights won’t be as profitable, long-term, as properly filling the seats above all the printer ink and soccer balls with actual human beings. Eric Adams, Wired, "Airlines’ Pandemic-Driven Cargo Business Will Keep Flying," 18 Dec. 2020 Any plans for this season should have been written in pencil, not ink. J. Brady Mccollough Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Pac-12’s one job was to crown a legit champion. Here’s how the league could blow it," 8 Dec. 2020 Some documents have ink bleeding through from the other side of a page, while others were scanned imperfectly from microfilm, resulting in poor images. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Library of Congress Seeks Volunteers to Transcribe Letters to Theodore Roosevelt," 4 Dec. 2020 The ball features 30 high-grade blue-ink signatures with all of the big names of the day, including Bob Feller, Mike Garcia, Larry Doby, manager Al Lopez, Herb Score, Mel Harder, Vic Wertz, Bob Lemon, Al Rosen, Early Wynn and Jim Hegan. Marc Bona, cleveland, "12 Cleveland nostalgic sports items up for auction (photos)," 29 Nov. 2020 Since the late 1960s barrels of ink and antacid have been spilled on the discussions, hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth over what is the best form of government for Carroll County. Kevin Dayhoff,, "Dayhoff: Changes in the form of Carroll County government come slowly | COMMENTARY," 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As more contracts are consummated through computers, a big tech company could make the tie-up official and ink the dotted line. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "5 software acquisitions Salesforce’s Slack deal could spur," 4 Dec. 2020 The United Arab Emirates, followed shortly by Bahrain, both decided to make history and ink a treaty with Israel earlier this year. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Trump says he will remove Sudan from list of countries that sponsor terrorism," 19 Oct. 2020 Meghan and Harry ink a Spotify deal, Paris's mayor is happy to pay a gender parity fine, and MacKenzie Scott acknowledges an ugly truth. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "MacKenzie Scott acknowledges what so few rich people are willing to say," 16 Dec. 2020 Because of the coronavirus pandemic, as many as 70% of the college football recruits who ink legally binding contracts with schools Wednesday will have never stepped foot on campus or met the head coach in person. Rusty Simmons,, "Cal, Stanford football recruiting: Get ready for a wild National Signing Day," 15 Dec. 2020 Pfizer did ink a $1.95 billion deal with the federal government to provide 100 million doses of vaccine—enough to vaccinate 50 million people—with an option to acquire an additional 500 million doses. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Trump to hold “Vaccine Summit” today—no vaccine-makers agreed to come," 8 Dec. 2020 Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are known for their mixed and matched couples ink. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Sophie Turner Got a New Tattoo That’s Most Likely a Tribute to Her Daughter," 19 Nov. 2020 The decision to ink Vazquez to an extension didn't come down to Wednesday's match, of course. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, "Jaap Stam: Evaluations of FC Cincinnati's 2020 roster are finished," 30 Oct. 2020 But the push for Sudan to ink its own deal with Israel comes at a delicate time for the African country. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Trump says Sudan will normalize relations with Israel, days after he moved to lift terrorism designation," 23 Oct. 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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