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

Each line of ink is her body’s reaction to a particular person, place, or thing. Chris Triunfo,, "Meghan Kausel," 1 Aug. 2019 Both stars have a fair share of tattoos, but this isn't their first time getting matching ink. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Get Matching Tattoos to Honor Their Late Dog, Waldo," 29 July 2019 The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is upon us, and in that time, there has been plenty of ink spilled about the implications, technical specifications, individuals, and historical significance of the mission. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "7 books to pick up to catch up on the story of Apollo 11," 20 July 2019 But the truth is that the Emperor of Russia did indeed have some serious ink. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Russia's Last Czar, Nicholas II, Had a Massive Dragon Tattoo," 14 July 2019 Plenty of ink has been spilled about the benefits of yoga. Maggie Gordon, Houston Chronicle, "How to set up an at-home yoga studio," 8 July 2019 Inklings, the human-squid hybrids that can transform to swim through pools of ink, have never been featured in a Super Smash Bros. game before. Lisa Eadicicco, Time, "Nintendo Just Announced a Bunch of Switch Games, Including Dark Souls," 9 Mar. 2018 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

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.

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

25 Aug 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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!