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 Working with paint, ink, watercolor and pencil on paper, Walsh uses bright primary colors in a didactic, text-dense style to retell stories of radical left-wing politics from Marx and Trotsky to Huey Newton. Benjamin Lima, Dallas News, "‘Keep on keeping on’: At Dallas Biennial, five artists take the long view of resistance and struggle," 6 Nov. 2020 Though not spelled out in ink, memories and realities shared the ballot with the two major presidential candidates. Dan Barry, New York Times, "A Vote That Flew in the Face of Fear Itself," 4 Nov. 2020 Doiron will show five pen-and-ink drawings during the virtual festival, two of which have been embellished with watercolor. Sarah Bonnette|contributing Writer,, "Covington’s Three Rivers Art Festival goes virtual for 2020," 1 Nov. 2020 The Vickery work uses pen-and-ink sketches by Barry Van Dusen and 12 beautiful watercolors by Lars Jonsson. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, "Similarities: Maine and Minnesota birds," 29 Oct. 2020 The Strathmore’s Visual Mixed Media journal comes with a hardy 190 gsm paper, which works well for wet and dry media including pencil, pen and ink, gouache or watercolor, and acrylics. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Mixed media sketchbooks for creative people," 22 Oct. 2020 Perhaps to mark the milestones, the model recently got some new, very meaningful ink. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Hailey Bieber Got a Small, Sweet Justin Tattoo on Her Finger," 19 Oct. 2020 All of the Kindles have room for thousands of ebooks and feature e-ink displays that won’t eat up battery life. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The best tech deals you can expect to see on Prime Day 2020," 12 Oct. 2020 The book is written by Cooper, with art from Alitha E. Martinez, ink by Mark Morales, coloring by Emilio Lopez and lettering by Rob Clark Jr. Rachel Desantis,, "Christian Cooper Pens Graphic Novel About Racism Partly Inspired by Amy Cooper in Central Park," 9 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The economy minister is expected to sign a trade cooperation pact, while the finance minister should ink an agreement on investment protection. Alisa Odenheimer,, "UAE Ministers to Arrive in Israel for First Visit on Tuesday," 19 Oct. 2020 Mao often used a brush and ink to write his correspondence and poetry in calligraphy. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Stolen Mao Zedong Scroll Was Found Cut in Half," 9 Oct. 2020 After a 23-35 run this season, with big-league developments from a few cornerstone prospects, this offseason would seem like a reasonable time to ink an extended free-agent contract or two. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers say 'really uncertain' 2021 financial outlook could curb spending," 3 Oct. 2020 The push for peace in the Middle East comes after the UAE agreed to become the third Arab nation to ink a treaty with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Trump predicts deal with Iran if he wins November election," 15 Sep. 2020 If the Cavs can ink him at a team-friendly number then a reunion makes sense. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Do Cleveland Cavaliers regret not drafting Michael Porter Jr. in 2018? Hey, Chris!," 12 Sep. 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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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

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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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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